More waste produced in 2015, recycling rate also goes up

More waste produced in 2015, recycling rate also goes up
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 16 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE — A growing population and rising affluence led to a rebound in the total amount of waste generated by the Republic, even as the recycling rate saw an uptick.

The country churned out 7.67 million tonnes of waste last year, a 2.1 per cent increase from the 7.51 million tonnes generated in 2014, according to figures released by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The 2014 figure represented a 4.3 per cent dip from the amount of waste generated in 2013 — an anomalous decline amid a general upward trend in recent years.

The NEA said the increase in total waste generated last year was “in tandem with Singapore’s growing population and affluence”.

Regardless, last year’s figure was lower than the 7.85 million tonnes of waste generated in 2013.

Meanwhile, the amount of waste recycled rose from 4.47 million tonnes in 2014 to 4.65 million tonnes last year, although this was still shy of the about 4.83 million tonnes recycled in 2013.

The overall rate of recycling inched up by one percentage point last year to 61 per cent, from 60 per cent in 2014. The recycling rate has hovered consistently between 59 and 61 per cent over the last five years.

The NEA attributed the increase in last year’s recycling rate to “an uptick in the recycling of wood, horticultural waste and metals”. The recycling rate for horticultural waste, for instance, climbed to 66 per cent in 2015, from 59 per cent the previous year.

The amount of food waste generated — which the authorities have been trying to combat through a range of initiatives, including a campaign to tackle the problem last November — declined for a second straight year.

It stood at 785,550 tonnes last year, down from 788,600 tonnes and 796,000 tonnes in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Last year’s food waste levels were nevertheless markedly higher than the 675,500 tonnes generated in 2011.

But the recycling of food waste has continued on a steady ascent, with the amount of food waste recycled reaching 104,100 tonnes last year, up from 101,400 tonnes in 2014. In 2011, 69,700 tonnes of food waste were recycled.

The amount of plastic waste recycled, however, dipped to 57,800 tonnes last year, continuing the decline seen between 2013 and 2014.

In 2014, 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste were recycled, down from 91,100 tonnes in 2013.

After registering the biggest fall in 2014, the amount of construction-debris waste generated headed north again to reach 1.41 million tonnes last year.

In 2014, the Republic generated 1.27 million tonnes of construction-debris waste, a 25.1 per cent decline from about 1.7 million tonnes recorded in 2013.

159,000 tonnes more waste generated
Samantha Boh, The Straits Times AsiaOne 16 Apr 16;

The total amount of waste generated in Singapore rose by 159,000 tonnes last year to hit 7.67 million tonnes - just short of the high of 7.85 million tonnes in 2013.

But for the second year running, food waste has dropped slightly, going by figures released by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on its website yesterday.

The increase in total waste generated is "in tandem with Singapore's growing population and affluence", said the NEA.

Ms Nuramirah Suyin Zaihan, an environmental engineer at the Singapore Environment Council, noted that the average amount of waste generated by individuals here each year has increased by almost 200kg from 2000 to 2014.

The authorities have been trying to get people to recycle more, given that space in the landfill in Pulau Semakau is expected to run out between 2035 and 2045.

"At the rate at which we generate waste currently, it would speed up the time for which Pulau Semakau reaches its limit," said Ms Nuramirah.

On the positive side, she said it was encouraging that Singapore threw away slightly less food last year, but added that reducing food waste is an ongoing effort.

According to NEA figures, people in Singapore threw away 785,500 tonnes of food last year, down from 788,600 tonnes in 2014.

Compared to 2014, this is a 0.39 per cent decrease, and a 1.32 per cent decrease from 2013.

Separately, the overall recycling rate rose to 61 per cent last year from 60 per cent the year before, "due to an uptick in the recycling of wood, horticultural waste and metals", said the NEA.

A new facility that recovers metals from incineration bottom ash has also helped, the agency said.

The facility, which started operations in July last year, has helped to increase the amount of metal recycled from 1.48 million to 1.49 million tonnes.

Overall, 4.65 million tonnes of waste was recycled.

One area for improvement is in food waste recycling, which remains low, at 13 per cent, despite making up 10 per cent of the total waste generated here.

Ms Nuramirah said the recycling of domestic waste materials, such as paper, cardboard and plastics, could be improved.

The recycling rate of paper and cardboard fell by 1 percentage point to 51 per cent, and the rate for plastics fell from 9 per cent to 7 per cent.

"We need to ramp up recycling efforts in these areas, and encourage consumers and businesses to recycle more of their waste," she said.

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