Recycling in Singapore: What can be Recycled?
Singapore is a beautiful nation, with a relatively small amount of land available. In recognising this, the government has been working hard to encourage more Singaporeans to recycle as much as possible.
Recycling helps minimise the impact that landfill has on a city by keeping the space required down. It also helps reduce pollution, and keep the air clean, both adjacent to the landfill and across the entire city. There are no negative impacts to recycling.
Driving to zero waste
Singaporeans have been encouraged to shift their way of thinking about waste and pollution to the concept of “zero waste.” Zero waste is a change to the way people think about products that are left at the end of using something – re-imagining this from ‘waste’ to a ‘potential resource’. Thinking about waste in this way could shift the way that nearly every product is cycled through society.
Zero waste can be achieved by coming together as a society with a concentrate focus on what is termed the “three R’s”:
- Reduce (creating less waste in the first place).
- Reuse (finding ways to use ‘waste’ products again, perhaps differently to the first time).
- Recycle (repurpose that waste into another new product).
In addition to the benefits outlined above, approaching waste management with a “zero waste” mindset will allow Singapore to maintain its primary waste storage and disposal facility, Semakau Landfill, for longer. Currently it is only projected to have capacity for another 35 years of operation.
What can be recycled in Singapore?
Of course, not everything can be recycled, and understanding that is important in achieving zero waste. Currently, a full third of recycle bins collected in Singapore end up in landfill, because the wrong things are placed in bins and it ends up contaminating the entire load.
What can be recycled is summarised below:
- Plastics, glass, and metal containers – but make sure they’re washed out, because the contents of those containers can act as a contaminant.
- Papers and cardboard – however, not pizza boxes! The oil from the pizzas that is absorbed by the box does prohibit the box from being recyclable.
- Plastic bags and straws – again, just make sure they’re washed out and free of contaminants.
Also, remember that the concept of “reduce, reuse and recycle” extends beyond just the recycling. Rather than put food scraps in the trash, for example, see about using them for compost for your plants and garden. Rather than throw away stuffed bears, clothes, or so on as your child grows out of them, instead donate them to charity.
Zero waste applies far beyond what you can, and cannot, recycle.
How to recycle
Firstly, watch this video, which highlights a full list of what can, and cannot be recycled:
Note the words that often pop up – “rinse before recycling”? This is an important, and often forgotten, part of the recycle process. The only things that should be going into the blue bin are “clean” waste for recycling. Anything that is contaminated will quite possibly ruin the entire bin’s load of recycling. This is something that many Singaporeans aren’t aware of – after all, they don’t see what happens to their own recycling – but if you’re going to go to the effort to recycle (and you should) making sure that your effort turns into actual recycling is a good idea. Recycling is one of those things that can have massive benefits for the environment, and each and every individual has a role to play. In addition to making sure that you are recycling as much as possible, it’s also important to make sure that you buy recyclable products where possible.
bio-home’s range of products, for example, are great for the environmentally conscious individual, because each and every one is fully recyclable. So, in addition to keeping your home clean without the use of dangerous chemicals, consumers can use them knowing that they are helping Singapore take another step towards an ideal, zero waste future.