Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 15 and above can apply to join the Workgroup from 15 June 2020
Singapore, 15 June 2020 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be convening a Citizens’ Workgroup on Reducing Excessive Consumption of Disposables from September 2020 to March 2021, with the application period open from 15 June to 19 July 2020. This initiative is in line with the SG Together movement, where the government aims to partner Singaporeans in new ways to design and implement ideas, programmes and policies together. The Citizens’ Workgroup aims to find inclusive ways to collectively address the excessive consumption of disposables in Singapore.
Environmental impact of disposables
2 In 2019, about 200,000 tonnes of domestic waste disposed of were disposables, comprising items such as carrier bags and takeaway containers. These were enough to fill up about 400 Olympic-size swimming pools. All types of disposables, regardless of whether they are made of paper, plastics or degradable materials, can have an impact on the environment during their production, transportation, and disposal. For example, the production of single-use paper bags and degradable bags, which are often seen as eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags, can consume large amounts of resources like water and land on a life-cycle basis. Degradable plastic bags also provide few benefits in Singapore as we incinerate all general waste and convert waste into energy.
3 The current “take, make, use and throw” way approach to disposables is not sustainable. This approach has contributed to carbon emissions and the ash generated from the incineration of such items ends up at Semakau Landfill, which is expected to be full by 2035. Given that alternatives to disposables, such as reusable bags and take-out containers, are readily available, it is important to move away from this linear model of consumption, and reshape behaviours towards the use of reusables over disposables. The concerted effort of the public, businesses, and non-governmental groups is key to successfully reducing the excessive consumption of disposables.
Taking co-creation efforts further
4 The Citizens’ Workgroup participants will be given access to relevant information and subject matter experts will be at hand to provide them with a better understanding of the topic. They will work together to develop practical and inclusive recommendations that can help better manage the excessive consumption of disposables in Singapore, taking the local context into account.
5 The participants will then prepare and present a report on their recommendations to NEA and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) at the end of the session. Following this, MEWR and NEA will study the proposed recommendations, and feasible ideas will be prototyped and piloted. If there is interest from participants to follow up on their recommendations, NEA will also consider supporting them.
6 Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Amy Khor, said, “MEWR convened our inaugural Citizens’ Workgroup on #RecycleRight last year, and we were heartened by the enthusiastic response and the many ideas generated. The Workgroup came up with thoughtful proposals to improve household recycling, and we are following up with participants to bring some of the suggestions to fruition. It is timely to convene another Citizen’s Workgroup to look into the excessive consumption of disposables, especially as we have seen an increase in the use of disposables during this COVID-19 pandemic. Through this Citizens’ Workgroup, we hope to tap into diverse views and insights from the public to collectively address this problem.”
7 Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents above 15 years old who wish to participate in the Citizens’ Workgroup on Reducing Excessive Consumption of Disposables can apply to http://www.cgs.gov.sg/citizenworkgroup
from 15 June to 19 July 2020 or call 6338 7984 (between 9am and 5pm, from Monday to Friday). Selected participants will be informed in early September 2020. For enquiries about the Citizens’ Workgroup, please email NEA_RD_CWG@nea.gov.sg
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