New condo developments to have recycling chutes

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 9 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE — Amid calls by Members of Parliament to give recycling a badly needed boost, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said the Government will mandate the provision of recycling chutes at some private residential developments.

Future condominium buildings taller than four storeys will be required to install dual chutes for refuse and recyclables. This will apply to all new non-landed residential development applications submitted from April next year, she said during the debate over the ministry’s budget on Wednesday (March 8).

Households in apartments with dual chute systems recycle up to three times more than those without such facilities, said Dr Khor. Since 2014, all new Build-To-Order flats have had recycling chutes adjacent to centralised refuse chutes at every level. The Government is ready to increase adoption of the system, as part of efforts to meet the domestic recycling target of 30 per cent by 2030. The rate has stagnated at 20 per cent in recent years.

The three waste streams of greatest concern are electronic waste, packaging waste and food waste, said Dr Khor. The Government is consulting industry stakeholders on an enhanced national e-waste management system, which should cover both collection and disposal of e-waste, she said.

It is exploring regulations for businesses on packaging waste, such as the submission of reduction plans, over the next two to four years.

As for food waste, source-segregated waste from nine sites including schools and army camps have been trucked to a demonstration facility at Ulu Pandan Water Reclamation Plant since the end of last year. About three tonnes are collected daily and the aim is to increase it to 15 tonnes a day, to recover energy from food waste more efficiently.

MPs Louis Ng (Nee Soon) and Cheng Li Hui (Tampines) called for better waste collection in housing estates. Dr Khor said future condominium developments with at least 500 dwelling units will use a pneumatic waste conveyance system – an automated system that transports waste by air suction through a network of pipes to a centralised collection station. This will also apply to all new non-landed residential development applications submitted from April next year.

The pneumatic waste conveyance system was piloted at Yuhua estate and will be installed in new HDB areas such as Tampines North and Bidadari. It is also in place at over 100 condominium developments such as Sky Habitat in Bishan.

On public cleanliness, Dr Khor said the National Environment Agency issued more than 31,000 tickets to litterbugs last year, nearly 18 per cent more than 2015. Over the past five years, less than 6 per cent of litterbugs who have undergone Corrective Work Orders have been caught littering again.

And since the adoption of surveillance cameras for high-rise littering in August 2012, the NEA has taken more than 3,300 enforcement actions against culprits. “These cameras create an effective deterrent effect, as only 1 per cent of high-rise litterbugs care caught offending again,” said Dr Khor.

Upgraded waste system for new private apartments
Samantha Boh, Straits Times AsiaOne 9 Mar 17;

A pneumatic waste conveyance system will be mandatory in new private developments with at least 500 units

Plans are under way to encourage private apartment dwellers to recycle more and make it easier for cleaners to collect their trash.

All new private apartment blocks with more than four storeys must soon have two waste chutes - one for recyclables and the other for trash that will be incinerated.

Developments with at least 500 housing units must also have a pneumatic waste conveyance system (PWCS), which will transport waste from rubbish chutes to a central collection area via an underground network of vacuum-type pipes.

These measures, which will kick in for developers that apply to build new apartments from April next year, were announced by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.

MPs Faishal Ibrahim (Nee Soon GRC) and Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC) spoke about Singapore's poor domestic recycling rate, and Dr Khor said yesterday the dual chutes will encourage recycling by making it more convenient.

Studies have found that households in apartments with such chutes recycle up to three times more than those in apartments which do not have such facilities.

Such systems have already sprung up in public housing. As of April last year, they were in 72 new Build-To-Order projects comprising close to 426 blocks, and will hopefully take Singapore closer to its goal of recycling 70 per cent of the waste it generates by 2030.

At present, only about 61 per cent is recycled, a figure boosted by the non-domestic sector which recycled 76 per cent of waste last year.

The domestic recycling rate stands at a mere 21 per cent. Dr Khor said such initiatives will have to go hand in hand with education.

On waste collection, Dr Khor agreed with Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Ms Cheng that current methods are "manpower intensive and unsustainable".

She said the PWCS is a more efficient, manpower-light method that will reduce pest nuisance, odours and exposed waste. It has been installed in more than 100 condominiums and the Yuhua estate, and will be in place in new Housing Board estates Tampines North and Bidadari.

The authorities will also study the feasibility of implementing it at a district level, to reap greater economies of scale.

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