Sustainability in Singapore: Recycling in Singapore
Why should I recycle? How do I recycle right?
Recycling plays an important role in helping to reduce waste generation and giving materials a second lease of life. It also helps to conserve natural resources, reducing the need for mining, deforestation etc. However, recycling right is crucial in ensuring that recyclables are not contaminated, and that the efforts of others are not wasted.
In Singapore, the recycling rate for the domestic sector is 17% (in 2019). And a staggering 40% of items placed in recycling bins are contaminated by food waste and/ or cannot be recycled.
Brief Recycling Guide
(Full list recyclable items available at nea.gov.sg)
Paper: Newspapers, magazines, carton juice boxes
Plastic: Plastic bottles, skincare containers, plastic food containers
Others: Drink cans, glass bottles, canned food tins
Paper: Used paper disposables, wax paper, tissue paper
Plastic: Cling wraps, polystyrene boxes, disposable cutleries
Others: Food waste, disposable chopsticks, lightbulbs
*Rinse containers previously filled with any sort of content to prevent contamination
A note on recycling plastic: Resin Codes
Image source: https://www.2ea.co.uk/Plastics--Resin-Codes-What-do-they-mean.html
Items with Codes 1 and 2 are commonly recycled plastic. In Singapore, items with Codes 3 and 6 cannot be recycled.
So what can you do?
- Make sure your items are not contaminated with food or liquids when recycling
- Only put recyclable items into the blue recycling bin
- Beyond recycling, place emphasis on reducing and reusing in your daily lives as they play a critical role in reducing waste