Recycling bins to be given to each household to raise domestic recycling rate

A community wall mural at the launch of the Recycle Right 2022 campaign on Jan 14, 2022. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) is stepping up a gear to nudge people to speed up their recycling pace, working with public waste collectors to distribute a recycling bin to each household in 2022.

The hope is that "these bins will make it more convenient for Singaporeans to store recyclables in their homes before bringing them down to the recycling bins in their areas", said Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, on Friday (Jan 14).

According to 2020's national recycling data from NEA , the domestic recycling rate stands at 13 per cent - a 10-year low - though the latest survey by the agency in 2021 found that three in five Singaporean households recycle.

The domestic recycling rate is the amount of household waste recycled as a proportion of total household waste.

The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint has set the goal of arriving at a 30 per cent domestic recycling rate by 2030. 

Contamination remains the greatest contributor to the country's low domestic recycling rate.

About 40 per cent of all items placed in the recycling bins cannot be repurposed due to food and waste leakage or they are simply non-recyclable.

Common misconceptions still rule, with half of all Singaporeans thinking that objects like soft toys and styrofoam are suitable for recycling.

Also, Singaporeans frequently do not wash their recyclables before placing them into the bin. This contaminates the other items inside and makes them unsuitable for repurposing.

To better educate the public on the objects that can be placed in the bins, NEA launched the Recycle Right 2022 campaign on Friday.

The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment and NEA have placed refreshed labels on all blue recycling bins and chutes to remind households to check the items before disposing of them.

The campaign aims to raise awareness by providing educational material through schools, and introducing a mascot called Bloobin, which can be viewed with an augmented reality filter made by @cleanandgreensg on Instagram.

In addition to NEA's campaign, Mr Tan hopes that the recycling bins - scheduled to arrive in households later this year - will "give Singaporeans a place to organise their recyclables, clean them properly, before they bring them down to be binned".

Madam Irene Soh, 65, a human resource executive, supports the initiative, saying that it will "definitely make me more conscious about recycling and I will do it more when I can".

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