Debate on ministries’ budgets: Environment and Water Resources

Law to better regulate waste to be tabled this year

It will also help firms that reduce and recycle e-waste, packaging waste and food leftovers

Changes to the law to better manage how Singapore handles waste, and to help businesses that reduce and recycle electronic waste, packaging waste and food leftovers, will be introduced this year.

The Resource Sustainability Bill will also help support companies that find innovative ways to use little to no resources in their business, and adopt new methods to better recover resources from waste, that can be applied both in Singapore and the region, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, told Parliament yesterday.

Singapore will this year release its first Zero Waste Masterplan, which will outline strategies to deal with three important local streams of waste: e-waste, packaging waste including plastics, and food waste, as part of efforts to create a more sustainable living environment.

Singapore plans to make this year one "towards zero waste".

"We hope that (the masterplan) will align the 3P (private, people, and public) sectors and the research and development community towards a common vision of a Zero Waste Nation," said Dr Khor.

More will also be done to reduce and reuse e-waste locally, such as the Extended Producer Responsibility Framework scheme, which will come into effect in 2021.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) and Ms Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC) had, during the debate on the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources' budget, sought more details on the scheme.

Dr Khor said the framework would make producers of products financially and physically responsible for the end-of-life collection and treatment of these items.

"We have no plans to bring the start date of the framework forward, as industry feedback has highlighted that both producers and recyclers need sufficient time to adjust," she said.

She added that the framework would apply to electrical and electronic equipment which are categorised as information and communication technology equipment, batteries, lamps, solar panels and large appliances. It will also include mobility devices, such as e-scooters and power-assisted bicycles.

"Almost 90 per cent of e-waste in Singapore will be covered," she said.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli hoped food waste could be processed in homes, without the need to transport it across the island to be composted or disposed of.

"I look forward to the day when our stores carry home food digesters that are compact, economical and easy to use, to convert our food waste into compost to grow plants and even food at home," he said. "This also reduces the need to transport food waste across the island, and keeps our waste system free from pests," he added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline Law to better regulate waste to be tabled this year. Subscribe