Singapore to have mandatory requirements for sustainable packaging

Lee Li Ying, Channel NewsAsia 12 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE: There will be mandatory requirements introduced for more sustainable packaging waste management, according to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Tuesday (Jul 12).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that to curb the growth of packaging waste at source, it will be implementing mandatory reporting of packaging by businesses, and submission of packaging waste reduction plans, within the next three to five years.

Possible requirements discussed during NEA’s industry consultation included mandatory submission of an annual report that includes their packaging waste reduction plan and statistics, as well as the meeting of packaging standards or the meeting of stipulated packaging waste recycling targets set by the industry.

"The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) has been an important instrument to reduce packaging waste since it was initiated in 2007. Between 2007 and 2016, the signatories had cumulatively reduced more than 32,000 tonnes of packaging waste," said Mr Masagos, at the 3R Packaging Awards 2016 ceremony held at the sidelines of the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore 2016.

"However, the amount of packaging waste reduced - about 6,300 tonnes per year, constitutes less than 1 per cent of the annual amount of packaging waste disposed of in Singapore. More needs to be done," he added.

The SPA was first introduced in 2007 for five years when it expired, and a second Agreement took effect on Jul 1, 2012. It was extended for five years till Jun 30, 2020, with 177 signatories on board, NEA said.

The efforts of the signatories have resulted in cumulative savings of more than S$75 million in the material costs of locally consumed products, it added.

- CNA/kk

Packaging of consumer products to be regulated
TAN WEIZHEN Today Online 13 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE — To cut waste in Singapore, the Government will put into effect mandatory requirements on the packaging of consumer products within the next three to five years, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.

Once this is implemented, companies might have to report and publish their mandatory packaging waste reduction plan, and to meet packaging requirements and standards as well as recycling targets.

These were the three options discussed during an industry consultation held between last December and this May, the National Environment Agency (NEA) told TODAY.

Last year, 1.73 million tonnes of domestic waste was generated in Singapore, equivalent to more than 3,000 Olympic-size swimming pools filled with domestic waste. Of this, about one-third was packaging waste. In tandem with an increasing population and growing consumption, the amount of packaging waste here is expected to rise.

On the sidelines of the CleanEnviro Summit yesterday, Mr Masagos said that even with companies cutting back on packaging waste, the amount of such waste reduced — about 6,300 tonnes a year — is less than 1 per cent of the annual total of packaging waste discarded in Singapore.

More needs to be done, he said, adding that the response from the industry during the consultation was generally positive. “Companies recognised the need for a mandatory framework as (it) creates a level playing field and provides impetus for more actions to be taken to reduce waste.”

Elaborating on the options raised at the consultation, NEA said that mandatory reporting would include reporting the weight, volume and type of packaging placed on the market, as well as waste reduction and recycling statistics.

Under packaging standards, it would mean setting one or more of the following: Packaging weight, recyclability of packaging, or recycled content of the packaging.

The third option — for companies to meet recycling targets — might be based on the amount of packaging and type of packaging materials.

Ms Susan Chong, chief executive of packaging firm GreenPac, said that using the right combination of packaging can result in 20 to 40 per cent of cost savings for businesses: “(You can use) less material, or material from sustainable sources, or a combination of both. Many times, it can result in cost savings. There needs to be more education about this.”

NEA plans to enhance the existing Singapore Packaging Agreement, to work with companies to cut packaging waste, aiming to have a yearly reduction of 10,000 tonnes of such waste by 2020.

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