NEA awards tender for feasibility study and design of pilot plastic recovery facility

There is currently no local facility that recovers contaminated plastics from domestic waste. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore has taken another step in its long-term plans to improve its recycling rates and capabilities, particularly its ability to recover more plastic waste.

On Tuesday (Jan 26), the National Environmental Agency (NEA) awarded the tender for the feasibility study and design of a pilot plastic recovery facility to engineering firm HTP GmbH & Co KG. The company specialises in the planning and design of waste management and recycling systems.

The feasibility study will help the NEA identify and assess the design and capacity of the facility, as well as the requirements for a suitable site, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The study is expected to start soon and be completed by the third quarter of this year.

It will run parallel to a joint study between the NEA and energy firm Shell on the feasibility of chemically recycling waste in Singapore, which was announced in October last year.

The NEA said the plastic recovery facility will take in domestic waste collected from households and trade premises, before sorting and recovering various plastic polymer types. These will be further treated in chemical recycling plants.

"The recovered plastics... can be converted into higher-value products such as pyrolysis oil, which can serve as feedstock for Singapore's petrochemical sector to manufacture new plastics and chemicals," said the NEA.

The facility will also be able to recover suitable polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic commonly known as PET, which will be mechanically recycled.

The NEA said there is currently no local facility that recovers contaminated plastics from domestic waste.

Under the current system, recyclables are collected from blue National Recycling Programme bins located at various locations across the island.

The new facility will tap a larger source of waste collected, such as from the green general waste bins in Housing Board estates, thereby reducing the amount of waste sent for incineration and landfilling, said the NEA.

The feasibility study on the facility will also propose the technologies and equipment required to recover up to 72,000 tonnes of plastics waste per year for chemical recycling, among other things.

The study will also determine the cost-effectiveness for the facility to separate and recover non-plastic recyclables, such as paper, metals and glass, the NEA said.

The facility would be "a key enabler in closing the waste loop, especially for plastics", the agency said.

The NEA's chief executive officer, Mr Tan Meng Dui, said the facility would be key in improving the plastic recycling rate and enhancing the overall waste management capabilities of Singapore.

"With the diversion of plastic waste from incineration to support a new chemical recycling ecosystem in Singapore, the (plastic recovery facility) will also contribute to carbon mitigation, close the plastic waste loop and create new jobs as part of the ongoing transformation of the environmental services sector," he said.

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