Towards a Zero Waste Nation - A Singapore Perspective

Singapore has an efficient waste collection and disposal system. However, at the heart of Singapore's rapid progress lies an inconvenient question and truth - how long can we sustain this? Given the current rate of disposal rates, they would have to build a new incineration plant every 7 to 10 years (MEWR, 2020). According to Ministry of the Environment and Water Resoruces, they speculate that by 2035, Singapore's only landfill - Semakau Island, will have no more space to accomodate the ashes generated from incineration.

Source - (MEWR, 2020)

Our Throwaway Culture

The world's population continues to grow at an alarming rate, and it's projected to hit almost 10 billion by 2050. Economic growth, urbanisation and affluence has placed pressure on all forms of resources around the globe. The linear economy model, aka the "Take, Make and Dispose" way of consumption is no longer sustainable. Although the ministry has paced up on sustaining a Circular Economy approach (by extending the lifecycle of resources by keeping them in use for an extended period of time), there's still more work that needs to be done - on an individual level. Here's a breakdown of how waste are recycled in Singapore.

Source - (MEWR, 2020)

If you notice, most plastics are disposed as incinerable waste, and that is alarming.

Sustainable Lifestyle - Closing the Plastics Loop from a consumer perspective

Living more sustainable lifestyles means reducing how much we consume and reusing our items where possible. When these are not feasible, recycling comes in, helping us to turn waste into resources (MEWR,2020).

Let's simplfy this - imagine leaving behind a half-eaten plate of food, discarding cloth just because it has no longer serve a purpose, or still - discarding plastic materials everyday, can create devastating and lasting impact on waste problem. Societal pressures - the need to be trendy with the latest gadgets, fashion, over ordering meals and many other waste related matters can be devastating if left ignored. Just as much as business organisations are taking up initiatives to reduce waste (Case in Point - KFC No Straw Policy) , we can't leave it to the big players to make key decisions. Consumers are at the heart of this problem, and we have to educate one another to be more conscious on sustainability. With rising issues on resources scarcity, it's really up to the consumer (looking at you) to make a measurable difference today.


MEWR. (2020). Zero Waste Masterplan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2020].

Source - (MEWR, 2020)

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