Companies must give data on packaging used on products by 2021

SINGAPORE -In a move to reduce packaging waste in Singapore, companies will have to report their packaging data by 2021.

This will include disclosing the type and amount of packaging on their products, as well as their plans to reduce the materials used. Products with reduced packaging will be able to carry an "eco-label" administered by the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA).

The Logo for Products with Reduced Packaging (LPRP) will be printed on products which use less packaging materials, with the aim of helping consumers to make informed choices in purchasing products that support the effort in reducing packaging waste, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a press release.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced the initiatives on Monday (June 5) as part of SPA's 10th anniversary.

He said there is a "need to cherish our resources, consume less and adopt sustainable practices to maintain a good living environment and for us to leave something for our future generations to enjoy".

"Every one of us has a part to play in reducing packaging waste," he added at the event held at Intercontinental Singapore.

The need for the reduction of packaging waste comes about as NEA revealed that about 1.66 million tonnes of waste were disposed of by the domestic sector last year, with one-third belonging to packaging waste - equivalent to the size of more than 1,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

In his speech, Mr Masagos commended companies such as Sunfresh Singapore for reducing packaging waste. The company, which received a one-off 10th anniversary Special Achievement Award, invested in a more efficient juice extractor, so that fewer oranges are needed to obtain the same amount of juice, and hence require fewer containers for storage and transportation.

It was one of 11 multinational companies and five small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that won SPA awards for their efforts to reduce packaging waste.

An SME winner, Ha Li Fa, was recognised for its ice machine initiative. Production manager Tay Ching Phing said that introducing such initiatives is not easy. "We have to change the mindsets and working habits of the staff, which is not something that can be done overnight."

Another company, Greenpac (S), was awarded for its paper carton box with polyurethane foam, which allows its clients to save about 0.53 tonne of packaging material per year. Its head of corporate comunications, Ms Stephanie Gan, said: "Everyone is talking about going green and is still stuck at the thinking stage. They need to act on it, show the action."