Why It Matters

Do more to boost recycling

When it comes to getting people to recycle more, it is not enough to just provide infrastructure.

On Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor revealed in Parliament that a national recycling effort, which involves public waste collectors picking up recyclables from the ubiquitous blue bin, collected what worked out to be 2 per cent of the total waste generated by the domestic sector in 2016.

Recycling bins and chutes have been rolled out in places such as public and private housing estates under the National Recycling Programme. Despite all this infrastructure, the programme's success rate has been dismal.

The startling figure highlights the urgent need to do more to boost recycling in Singapore. A good place to start would be increasing education and outreach efforts,which must emphasise why it is important for Singapore to recycle.

For one thing, the city-state's only landfill on Semakau Island is filling up at an alarming rate. Its deadline is 2035 - a decade sooner than the original 2045 projection.

The National Environment Agency, which helms the National Recycling Programme, also has to ensure that people do not lose trust in the system.

There have been reports of public waste collectors mixing recyclables with general waste, or being picky about the type of recyclables they collect. Such encounters, shared by netizens on social media, may make people feel that their efforts to recycle have gone to waste.

Climate change refers to the human-induced warming of the earth, caused by deforestation and the excessive consumption of resources that result in the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

While individuals may not have direct control over emissions, everyone can reduce the consumption of resources.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Do more to boost recycling'. Subscribe