PARLIAMENT: Debate on ministries' budgets: Trade and Industry

Circular economy approach to maximise resources, reduce waste

The effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events, are posing a threat to carrying on with business as usual.

But just as how Singapore overcame its water vulnerability with innovation, the nation can do the same with climate change, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon in Parliament yesterday.

"One area of growing interest is the idea of a circular economy," he said, referring to resources being continually recycled in a loop to maximise their value.

Industrial developer JTC Corporation is partnering companies on Jurong Island, as well as agencies such as national water agency PUB and the National Environment Agency, to conduct a Jurong Island Circular Economy Study, he added. The study will map out the flow of water, energy and waste on the island and identify system-level gaps.

"This will allow companies to come together to develop solutions to address these gaps, test-bed solutions on Jurong Island, and then export these solutions globally," he said.

The circular economy approach promotes sustainability as it employs re-use, reduce, re-manufacturing and recycling to maximise the use of limited resources, and reduce the creation of waste as well as greenhouse gas emissions, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Last August, Singapore launched its first zero-waste masterplan, which highlighted a target of sending about one-third, or 30 per cent, less waste to the Semakau Landfill by 2030, to extend the lifespan of the country's only offshore landfill beyond 2035.

To achieve this, the Republic is exploring ways to turn trash into treasure.

This can be done, for instance, by turning waste plastics into plastic pellets for manufacturing new products, or using chemical recycling to turn plastic waste into chemical feedstock or fuel.

The ministry said innovation to address domestic concerns would also allow Singapore to identify and expand on the economic opportunities on those fronts, such as by exporting the system-level and company-level solutions overseas.

"Such an approach will generate new economic opportunities for our companies and create good jobs for Singaporeans," it added in its statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2020, with the headline Circular economy approach to maximise resources, reduce waste. Subscribe