New scheme allows doorstep collection for recyclables

Maximus Wong, seven, and his sister Venicia, eight, trying out the new ezi app that makes it more convenient for households to recycle. The doorstep collection service has been set up for people living in certain Woodlands estates as part of a pilot
Maximus Wong, seven, and his sister Venicia, eight, try out the new ezi app that makes it more convenient for households to recycle. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Residents at selected Woodlands estates can book service via app and get paid for efforts

No one likes lugging bags of recyclables down to the bins but that chore is about to get easier for some people 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 yesterday.

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 kilogram for paper products such as newspapers, magazines and cartons, and household items made of metal, 20 cents a kilogram for clothing and 50 cents a kilogram for aluminium cans. Payment is made within two weeks of a collection.

There is no payment for plastic items like 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 next year.

Madam Lee Choon Hong, 65, lives at Block 671 in Woodlands Drive 71, one of the locations eligible for the doorstep collection.

Residents will also be paid for their recycling efforts - 10 cents a kilogram for paper products such as newspapers, magazines and cartons, and household items made of metal, 20 cents a kilogram for clothing and 50 cents a kilogram for aluminium cans. Payment is made within two weeks of a collection. There is no payment for plastic items like detergent bottles.

 
 
 
 

She told The Straits Times in Mandarin that she has been taking recyclables such as plastic bottles to the blue bins below her block for almost five years.

"I don't think it's inconvenient to take the recyclables downstairs, but at least this app allows me to recycle clothing," said Madam Lee.

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 of the benefits of recycling, educate people on how to recycle correctly and provide them with 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 the 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2019, with the headline 'New scheme allows doorstep collection for recyclables'. Print Edition | Subscribe