Singapore: Incentives to promote recycling

New criterion for waste collection firms as part of household green drive
Grace Chua Straits Times 5 Mar 11;

HOUSEHOLDS will be encouraged to recycle more through incentives given by waste-collection companies.

The requirement to provide incentives, starting from July, will be stipulated when public waste collection contracts with companies are renewed.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim announced the incentive requirement when he spoke yesterday during the debate on his ministry's budget, which was approved.

He was responding to Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC), who had asked about the efforts being made by the ministry to boost household recycling.

A pilot project by waste collection firm Veolia involving some 6,000 landed homes in the Tanglin-Bukit Merah area will start next month. Their bins for recyclable material have been fitted with electronic tags.

Specially outfitted collection trucks will weigh the tagged bins and send information to a database. When bins are emptied into trucks, workers will check for non-recyclable material and offer residents advice on recycling methods.

Affected households will not need to pay extra for the technology, as the pilot scheme is funded in part by the National Environment Agency's (NEA) 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) waste-minimisation and recycling fund.

The $8 million fund, set up in 2009, has given out money for 15 projects which are estimated to help reduce 50,000 more tonnes of waste.

In the Tanglin-Bukit Merah project, the households will eventually be able to earn reward points by recycling more. One possibility is that the points can then be used, for example, to redeem groceries at participating stores. Details of this plan are still being finalised.

The incentive scheme, part of an enhanced National Recycling Programme, will also apply to public housing estates.

Recycling bins there will be similarly electronically tagged and weighed, and households and communities given rewards for recycling.

But different approaches may be taken in different estates.

When the NEA renews contracts with collection companies operating in Housing Board estates, every block will get a recycling bin. This will be a change from the current practice of one bin for every five blocks. Recyclable material will also be collected daily.

Landed homes will get garden waste collected for composting and recyclable material picked up every week.

Homes in the Pasir Ris-Tampines region - one of nine geographic sectors for waste collection - will get to enjoy the incentive scheme from July 1, when the area's new seven-year contract starts.

When waste-collection contracts for the other eight sectors come up for renewal over the next two years, the requirement for companies to provide incentives will be stated in the contracts.

Camden Park home owner Lin Chen, 54, welcomes the initiative even though her family already recycles.

'I'm not really interested in the points,' she said. 'All I need is the bin and someone to collect the recycling.'

In Parliament, Dr Yaacob stressed the need to reduce overall waste. Singapore's approach to waste management, he said, is to cut back on waste first, reuse material and finally recycle.

'We can and must all do our part to reduce the amount of waste we each generate and dispose of, through simple everyday habits like recycling bottles and reducing food waste,' he reminded.

The average Singaporean, he said, throws out 860g of waste a day, which adds up to more than 300kg a year - enough to cover an eighth of the country's surface area.

Singapore has set itself a target of recycling 70 per cent of waste by 2030, up from 58 per cent last year.

Budget 2011: Recycling programme to be enhanced with one bin per HDB block
Lynda Hong Channel NewsAsia 4 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE: Singapore will enhance its National Recycling Programme (NRP) by providing one recycling bin for every HDB block with daily collection.

This is an increase from the previous rate of one bin for every five blocks of HDB flats.

On average, a resident in Singapore generates 860 grammes of waste every day - which is one third more than in Germany or Taiwan.

Over a year, Singapore can dispose enough waste to cover one eighth of Singapore's surface area, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Friday.

To reduce waste and encourage more recycling, "we will make it easier for households to recycle. Households can now look forward to more recycling bins and more frequent collection services," said Dr Yaacob.

Veolia Environmental Services is the first public waste collector to be awarded the contract under the enhanced NRP, which aims to boost recycling rates from the current 58 per cent.

It will provide 660-litre bins for all 1,200 HDB blocks in the Pasir Ris-Tampines sector in July. The bins will be emptied every day.

It will also provide another 3,000 bins, with a smaller capacity of 120 litres, for every household in landed properties in the Pasir Ris-Tampines sector. Recyclables in these bins will be collected weekly instead of the current fortnightly.

Refuse collection in Singapore has been divided into nine sectors, managed by different public waste collectors.

The trash bins provided by Veolia Environment Services are no ordinary one.

They are retrofitted with Radio-frequency identification (RFID). This can help the public waste collector track the weight and quality of recyclables.

Veolia Environment Services has also retrofitted its rubbish-collecting trucks with RFID and weighing technology.

"We are able to target our outreach programmes more effectively. For example, (if) this particular household or block of estate....(has) contaminated recyclables in a bin, we are able to send out recycling ambassadors and work together with the grassroots network and implement education and awareness programmes," said Christina Lee, marketing & communication manager at Veolia ES Singapore.

During collection, Veolia Environmental Services will mix all the recyclables.
It will then sort them out at its plant in Tuas. That's because paper, glass and plastics can be further separated. For example, paper can be further sorted into old corrugated carton, old newspapers and office papers.

Landed property owners in Tanglin and Bukit Merah will get a first taste of the new recycling system in April when the company pilots a programme for the 6,000 households in the area.


Smart recycling with a little help
Lynda Hong Ee Lyn Today Online 5 Mar 11;

SINGAPORE - Trash bins and trucks are being retrofitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and weighing technology, under an enhanced National Recycling Programme (NRP).

Veolia Environment Services, the first public waste collector to be awarded a contract under the enhanced NRP, said it will be able to track the weight and quality of recyclables with the new technology.

Its marketing and communication manager, Ms Christina Lee, said: "For example, if a household or a block of flats in an estate are disposing contaminated recyclables in their bins, we will be able to identify where the trash is coming from and send recycling ambassadors to these households."

Minister of Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament on Friday that the Government "will make it easier for households to recycle. Households can now look forward to more recycling bins and more frequent collection services".

Veolia will provide a 660-litre bin for every HDB flat, much bigger compared with the present 120-litre bin.

Six thousand landed property owners in Tanglin and Bukit Merah will get these larger bins in April, while another 1,200 bins will be provided to HDB estates in Tampines and Pasir Ris in July.