SINGAPORE - No one likes lugging bags of recyclables down to the bins but that chore is about to get easier for some folks thanks to a new scheme.
A doorstep collection service has been set up for people living in certain Woodlands estates as part of a pilot programme by Sembcorp Industries to make recycling more convenient.
Households with postal codes starting with "73" can now book a collection date and time for recyclables through SembCorp's ezi mobile application, which was launched at Kampung Admiralty Community Plaza in Woodlands on Sunday (Nov 10).
There are two collection dates a month for every postal code and three to five time slots for each date. Someone must be at the apartment for the collection.
Residents will also be paid for their recycling efforts - 10 cents a kilo for paper products such as newspapers, magazines and cartons and household items made of metal, 20 cents a kilo for clothing and 50 cents a kilo for aluminium cans. Payment is made within two weeks of a collection.
There is no payment for plastic items like PET s and detergent bottles.
While there are no restrictions on the minimum weight of the recyclables, residents are encouraged to accumulate at least 5kg before booking a collection. They should also clean and dry the items.
Sembcorp plans to roll out the service to other residential zones by the end of 2020.
Madam Lee Choon Hong lives at Block 671 in Woodlands Drive 71, one of those eligible for the doorstop collection.
She told The Straits Times in Mandarin that she has been bringing recyclables such as plastic bottles to the blue bins below her block for almost five years.
"I don't think it's inconvenient to bring the recyclables downstairs, but at least this app allows me to recycle clothing," said Mdm Lee, 65.
She added that she would still recycle, even without the payment incentive: "It's not about the money. I've been recycling for years."
Mr Neil McGregor, group president and chief executive of Sembcorp Industries, said convenience has emerged as a key factor of recycling behaviour in surveys.
"As a significant player in Singapore's waste management industry, we aim to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling, educate people on how to recycle correctly and provide them a convenient way to recycle," he added.
Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, said the ezi app is a "commendable ground-up effort", and shows how different organisations can work together to undertake collective action for the environment.
"We welcome more innovative ideas from everyone, so that we can co-create and deliver practical solutions to overcome our environmental challenges," added Dr Khor, who was speaking at the app's launch.
She noted that a Citizens' Workgroup convened recently by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has been tackling household recycling issues and solutions.
"We ... will provide our recommendations at the end of this month," said Dr Khor.