The waste industry has a productivity problem. Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore chairman Jerome Baco said this at a waste management symposium on Tuesday, noting that Singapore's industry employs 12,000 workers, occupies 517 hectares but processes only 1.6 tons of waste per worker per day.
That is half of Taiwan's productivity and a third of Japan's, he said. As such, the association is working with the National Environment Agency to develop new standards, training and technology for the sector, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, guest of honour at the symposium.
The lack of public participation in recycling is also a problem, with household waste streams like plastic and food waste having poor recycling rates. Domestic waste makes up 56 per cent of waste disposed here. But there are bright spots: the 128 companies and groups that have signed the Singapore Packaging Agreement since 2007 have cut their packaging waste by 14,900 tons since then. Dr Balakrishnan also presented the 3R Packaging Awards to 16 companies for outstanding efforts in doing so.