June-July 2020

NEWSand - Reimagining Waste

Along with the government, NEA has directed efforts to reduce waste directed to Semakau Landfill in a bid to expand its lifespan beyond 2035. One of the strategies include project NEWSand™, where treated Incineration Bottom Ash (IBA) and slag can betransformed into literal building blocks of life.

In 2001, the former Ministry of Environment (MOE) had started looking into the possibility of repurposing treated Incinerated Bottom Ash (IBA). However, it was not until 2009, following a road trial spearheaded by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that used a phospate-based technique called WES-PHIx to stabilise contaminants, that IBA was included as a possible road building material in LTA's Materials and Workmanship Specifications for Roadworks.

Re-inventing waste into building blocks of life

At the Nanyang Technological University’s Waste-to-Energy Research Facility, which is supported by the NEA, MSW is gasified at high temperatures of up to 1,600°C into a vitrified, glass-like slag. This MSW slag has been validated to meet the provisional environmental standards for NEWSand and is already being put into use by the industry to partially replace conventional fine aggregates in concrete.

The first local technical demonstration on the use of the MSW slag is carried out at Our Tampines Hub (OTH), where MSW slag was used to construct a temporary concrete footpath of 105-metre long linking OTH to the Darul Ghufran Mosque.

Envision Lite Issue 1-5
A bench made out of municipal solid waste slag measuring
80cm by 105cm by 60cm and weighing 
about 60kg.

Our Tampines Hub Footpath

Concrete Results: This completed footpath opposite Our Tampines Hub, which links to the Darul Ghufran Mosque, is made from concrete incorporated with municipal solid waste slag.

Chief Executive Officer of NEA, Mr Tan Meng Dui, said, “The technical demonstrations on the use of NEWSand and upcoming field trials are a culmination of efforts over the years to turn trash into resources and close the waste loop. Through these efforts, we hope to extend the lifespan of Semakau landfill beyond 2035 and keep it running for as long as possible. The successful implementation and use of NEWSand marks a key step in Singapore’s drive towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation.”

Many international efforts and measures have been put in place to create a world that is more eco-friendly and sustainable in the long run. Such efforts include the Swiss company, Climeworks, creating the world's first CO2 Capture Plant. The plant compresses CO2 for usage as fertiliser to grow crops in greenhouses. The multinational automotive manufacturer, Toyota, aims to secure a fossil-free future with the next-gen Toyota Mirai.