13 large companies and 6 small and medium enterprises received SPA Awards for their initiatives in packaging waste reduction
Singapore, 17 July 2019 – 19 signatories of the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) were recognised for their efforts in packaging waste reduction at the SPA Awards 2019 presentation ceremony this morning. Launched in 2007, the SPA is a joint initiative by the government, industry and non-governmental organisations to reduce packaging waste. To date, SPA signatories have cumulatively reduced about 54,000 tonnes of packaging waste, enough to fill about 100 Olympic-size swimming pools. This has resulted in estimated packaging material cost savings of $130 million for locally consumed products. To build on the foundation of the SPA and to prepare the ground work for mandatory packaging reporting, which will be implemented in 2020, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is exploring ways to develop industry capability in sustainable packaging waste management. The announcement was made by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr. Amy Khor, in her Opening Address at the Partners for the Environment Forum 2019.
Towards more sustainable packaging waste management
2 With the SPA ending on 30 June 2020, NEA is working with industry to develop a programme to support companies in their journey towards a more sustainable packaging waste management. The programme will complement the mandatory packaging reporting requirements, which will come into force next year and the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework for packaging waste management, which will be implemented by 2025. The key objectives of this programme are to:
a. build up industry capability to reduce, recover and recycle packaging waste,
b. introduce supply chain initiatives that foster sustainable use of resources, and
c. raise industry and consumer awareness on the 3Rs of packaging waste management
3 More information about the programme will be announced next year. In the meantime, the SPA will continue to be the platform for companies to network and exchange information on best practices in sustainable packaging waste management through meetings, events and sharing sessions. The SPA will also help raise awareness among companies on the potential for packaging waste reduction within their business operations, thereby reducing waste generation in Singapore.
Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) Awards
4 The SPA was launched more than a decade ago as a voluntary initiative to garner the commitment of industry in reducing packaging waste (See Annex A for more information about SPA). The SPA Awards (formerly known as the 3R Packaging Awards) have been presented annually to recognise signatories that have made notable efforts and achievements in reducing packaging waste. Since 2017, to provide greater recognition to companies, Multi-National Companies (MNCs)/Large Local Enterprises (LLEs) and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are assessed separately for three tiers of awards, with the highest tier being Top Achievement, followed by Excellence and Merit Awards.
5 This year, Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd (RWS) was awarded the Top Achievement Award for the second year in a row under the MNC category. RWS has implemented a number of packaging waste reduction initiatives over the past year, including ceasing the provision of plastic bottled water at its hotels and convention centre, and replacing them with refillable carafes or water dispensers. RWS also actively raised awareness on environmental sustainability among its staff. To promote environmental sustainability, RWS removed desk-side bins within the offices of its attractions to encourage staff to be aware of the waste they dispose of and to encourage proper recycling habits.
6 Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd and SG Hotels Pte Ltd (Six Senses Singapore) are awarded the Top Achievement Award under the SME category. Greenpac has reduced the overall size of transportation packaging for highly sensitive semiconductor fabricating equipment for one of its clients. This improvement resulted in the use of less packaging materials while maintaining the integrity of the packaging to protect the equipment. Through this initiative, it is estimated that 62 tonnes of packaging waste could be avoided per year.
7 As part of its efforts to reduce packaging waste, SG Hotels (Six Senses Singapore) worked with its suppliers to replace single-use paper trays for eggs and foam boxes for seafood with reusable plastic trays and containers respectively. SG Hotels (Six Senses Singapore) also implemented various programmes and set up infrastructure to facilitate recycling waste (including packaging waste) at its offices. Other than that, SG Hotels (Six Senses Singapore) organised a series of activities within its own organisation to educate its employees about the importance of waste minimisation, and shared information on sustainable operations in hotels with students and hotel industry. (See Annex B for full list of award winners and their accomplishments, and Annex C for the SPA Awards assessment criteria).
8 Chief Executive Officer of NEA, Mr Tan Meng Dui, said, “We are pleased to recognise the 19 SPA signatories who are receiving awards for their efforts and achievements in reducing packaging waste. The momentum and positive experience with SPA over the past decade have prepared us well to take the next step to implement the mandatory packaging reporting framework in 2020, and eventually the Extended Producer Responsibility framework for packaging waste by 2025. The excessive use of packaging is a waste of resources and increases our carbon footprint. We encourage all companies to make a concerted effort to reduce and recycle packaging waste, help protect our environment and extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill.”
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Background on Singapore Packaging Agreement and Mandatory Requirements for Packaging Waste Management
1 In 2018, about 1.56 million tonnes  of waste disposed of in Singapore came from domestic sources. Of this, about one-third consisted of packaging waste. Approximately 55 per cent of the packaging waste comprised plastic packaging, whilst 25 per cent comprised paper packaging. The remaining 20 per cent was made up of other types of packaging materials, such as metal and glass. Packaging waste (including plastics) is therefore one of the key waste streams to focus on for more sustainable waste management, to help Singapore achieve its goal of moving towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation.
Singapore Packaging Agreement
2 The first Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) was launched more than a decade ago on 5 June 2007 as a waste reduction initiative, where 32 organisations came together to sign an agreement to mark their commitment to reducing packaging waste. The Agreement provides a platform for industries to collaborate to reduce packaging waste. The Agreement is voluntary, so as to provide flexibility for the industries to adopt cost-effective solutions to reduce waste.
3 As of 17 July 2019, 239 signatories have come on board the SPA. The full list of signatories and details about the SPA can be found at https://www.nea.gov.sg/SPA.
Mandatory Packaging Reporting Requirements
4 Mandatory packaging reporting requirements will be implemented in 2020. For a start, the requirements will apply to producers of packaged products and supermarkets with an annual turnover of more than $10 million. These companies will have to report annually to NEA how much packaging they put on the Singapore market, and their 3R plans for packaging (i.e. plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging waste). Retailers such as supermarkets are required to report on the service packaging, which are packaging filled at the point-of-sales, such as plastic bags provided to consumers.
5 Mandatory packaging reporting is the first step in our plan to introduce an EPR framework for managing packaging waste, including plastics, by 2025. Similar to e-waste, we are studying how producers can assume responsibility in collecting and treating packaging waste. An EPR framework would incentivise both upstream reductions in packaging and proper management of packaging waste downstream.
Background of 3R Packaging Awards/SPA Awards
1 Since 2008, the 3R Packaging Awards have been presented annually to recognise Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) signatories that have made notable efforts and achievements in reducing packaging waste. In 2017, the 3R Packaging Awards was renamed the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) Awards to enable businesses and the general public to associate the Awards with the SPA programme.
2 The three award categories under the SPA Awards are - Top Achievement, Excellence and Merit Awards. The system also assesses Multi-National Companies (MNCs)/ Large Local Enterprises (LLEs) and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) separately. The assessment criteria for selecting the winners is outlined in Annex C. This year, thirteen MNCs/LLEs and six SMEs were presented with the SPA Awards.
3 The Award winners are as follows:
Recipients of the SPA Awards 2019
Top Achievement Award (MNC)
Resorts World at Sentosa Pte. Ltd.
Since February 2019, Resorts World at Sentosa Pte. Ltd. (RWS) stopped providing plastic bottles used for water and soft drinks at its five themed attractions, including Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and S.E.A. Aquarium, dining establishments, MICE events and across all of its six hotels. RWS’s six hotels, which previously provided complimentary bottled water, now offer more sustainable options for drinking water. These include refillable carafes in each room as well as newly-installed water stations on every floor for ease of hydration. The initiative extends to MICE events, where guests are now served fresh fruit-infused water that is dispensed from filtered pitchers instead of bottled water. Through these initiatives, RWS has reduced an estimated 131.21 tonnes of packaging from discarded plastic bottles and carton boxes that are used to transport these plastic bottles.
Since December 2018, RWS introduced reusable tumblers which also function as take-home souvenirs at USS. By cutting down on disposable cups, more than 7.12 tonnes of paper packaging waste could be avoided annually.
In another initiative, RWS reduced the use of plastic packaging for its slippers. Since May 2018, each set of slippers is fastened together with a paper strip and various sets are then bagged in bulk for transportation. RWS also extended the bulk packing approach for retail merchandise such as towels and small plush toys. This has allowed RWS to avoid about 0.91 tonne of plastic packaging waste annually.
Top Achievement Awards (SME)
SG Hotels Pte Ltd (Six Senses Singapore)
As part of its efforts to reduce packaging waste, SG Hotels Pte Ltd (Six Senses Singapore) introduced an initiative in October 2018, where they worked with their suppliers to replace single-use paper trays for eggs and foam boxes for seafood with reusable plastic trays and containers respectively. Through this initiative, SG Hotels managed to avoid about 0.42 tonne of packaging waste annually.
Six Senses Singapore has also implemented various programmes and set up infrastructure to facilitate recycling, including for packaging waste, at its offices. For example, in October 2018, recycling receptacles were set up in back of house areas such as offices and kitchens. In-house recycling programme for e-waste, used lightbulbs, Nespresso capsules and pens was also implemented in July 2018.
Within its own organisation, Six Senses Singapore organised a series of activities to educate its employees about the importance of waste minimisation, such as intertidal walk, coastal clean-up, site visits to waste management facilities and Zero Waste Challenge for its staff. Besides reaching out to its staff, Six Senses Singapore also shared about sustainable operations in hotels with students from Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic and the hotel industry.
Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd
In August 2018, Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd introduced an improved packaging for one of its clients to transport highly sensitive semiconductor fabricating equipment. This improvement was done through reducing the overall packaging size which resulted in the use of less packaging materials, while maintaining the integrity of the packaging to protect the equipment. The weight of each packaging was reduced from 144kg to 113kg. The new lighter packaging is also more compact, leading to lower freight costs. Through this initiative, Greenpac is able to avoid about 62 tonnes of packaging waste per year.
Apart from reducing packaging waste, Greenpac organises a “Learning Journey” that aims to increase general awareness on packaging reduction. In 2018, Greenpac has engaged 420 participants from a wide audience group including corporates and educational institutes.
Excellence Awards (MNCs and LLE)
Coca-Cola Singapore Beverages Pte Ltd (CCSB)
Coca-Cola Singapore Beverages Pte Ltd (CCSB) has implemented two new initiatives over the past year to reduce packaging waste after changing its production processes. In June 2018, CCSB reduced the weight of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of its still beverages. The weight of its 500ml bottle was reduced by 12 per cent from 26.5g to 23.2g, while the weight of its 1500ml bottle was reduced by 4 per cent from 56g to 53.5g. This has allowed the company to cut down on 28 tonnes of plastic packaging each year.
In addition, CCSB reduced the thickness of the aluminium cans for its 320ml canned sparkling beverages from 0.270 mm to 0.245 mm in 2018. As a result, the weight of each can was reduced from 10.7g to 9.5g. This translated into a reduction of aluminium packaging of 170 tonnes annually.
Sheng Siong Supermarket Pte Ltd
In September 2018, Sheng Siong Supermarket Pte Ltd adopted a new assisted pallet wrapping system using a handheld tool. The new weight of the new stretch film is 1.38kg per roll, which is 1.12kg lighter than the old stretch film. With the reduction in the amount of stretch film used, Sheng Siong was able to avoid about 36.72 tonnes of plastic packaging annually.
To reduce the use of single-use carrier bags, Sheng Siong took part in the “One Less Plastic” campaign organised by the Singapore Environment Council, which lasted from 12 December 2018 to 3 March 2019. In another initiative, Sheng Siong segregated food waste generated at its headquarters and stores for recycling using a food waste compactor installed at its headquarters.
Nestlé Singapore (Pte) Ltd
From January to August 2018, Nestlé Singapore (Pte) Ltd studied the feasibility of using bulk bags of larger capacity to contain sugar, in order to reduce the use of packaging materials. After several rounds of trial, a bulk bag made of polypropylene (PP) with capacity of 1000kg was selected, replacing the 600kg capacity PP bag used previously. This initiative allowed Nestlé to reduce 2.79 tonnes of plastic packaging material annually.
In another initiative, Nestlé established a segregation system for bulk PP bags used for coffee powder, cocoa powder, creamer, sugar and malted barley. Instead of disposing them, these bulk bags were sent for reuse through its waste collectors. Through this initiative, Nestlé is able to avoid about 4.41 tonnes of plastic packaging waste annually.
Excellence Award (SME)
Ha Li Fa Pte Ltd
Since September 2018, Ha Li Fa Pte Ltd dispensed the use of single-use plastic bags and switched to reusable plastic ties to mark plastic crates which were used to store chicken meat balls prior to packing. In addition, different coloured reusable plastic ties were used to help in identifying different fillings of the chicken meat balls. Through this initiative, Ha Li Fa managed to avoid about 0.18 tonne of plastic packaging in a year, which translated to material cost savings of about $600 annually.
In another initiative, Ha Li Fa supplied carton boxes which came with the raw materials used in its production for reuse by its tenants to transport their goods. By reusing these carton boxes, it is estimated that about 9.18 tonnes of paper packaging is avoided annually as the tenants need not purchase new carton boxes to transport their goods.
Merit Awards (MNCs and LLE)
Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) Pte Ltd
In February 2019, Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) Pte Ltd optimised the packaging of its 330ml aluminium sleek cans for Tiger and Heineken, by reducing the thickness of the base from 0.270mm to 0.245mm. The reduction in thickness of the base of the aluminium cans resulted in a 10 per cent and 8 per cent reduction in weight of the 330ml-aluminium sleek cans for Tiger and Heineken respectively. This resulted in about 25.09 tonnes of packaging material saved annually.
Charoen Pokphand Intertrade Singapore (Pte) Ltd
In July 2018, Charoen Pokphand Intertrade Singapore (Pte) Ltd reduced the dimensions of the carton boxes for its gyoza products from 424mm x 332mm x 245mm to 400mm x 300mm x 272mm, and dispensed with the use of partitions within the boxes. By doing so, the overall weight of each carton box was reduced by 384g from 776g to 392g. The company is able to avoid about 3.51 tonnes of paper packaging annually through this initiative. By using smaller boxes, CP Intertrade was also able to increase the number of carton boxes loaded onto shipping containers by about 6 per cent, thereby improving supply chain efficiency while reducing transportation and handling costs.
Denis Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
Since May 2018, Denis Asia Pacific Pte Ltd has been using carton boxes with less packaging material for delivery of its products including Ayam Brand™ canned sardines, mackerel and peas. This has allowed the company to reduce about 1.63 tonnes of paper packaging each year.
In another initiative, Denis Asia Pacific replaced the use of strapping bands made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which were heavier, with a lighter biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) tape used in securing of the carton boxes filled with goods for delivery. The company also further reduced the width of the tape from 48mm to 36mm. These changes have resulted in the annual reduction of 0.25 tonne of packaging material used to secure goods for transportation.
F&N Foods Pte Ltd
In February 2019, F&N Foods Pte Ltd reduced the weight of its 1-litre beverage carton for Fruit Tree Fresh Sugarless Apple Juice, by removing the inner aluminium layer without compromising the integrity of the packaging and quality of the product. This initiative allows F&N Foods to reduce 0.43 tonne of aluminium packaging material per year, with material cost savings of $8,000.
In another initiative implemented in July 2018, the company redesigned the bottle caps for its 250ml Fruit Tree Fresh Juice after reviewing the capping process. This resulted in lower incidences of capping defects and less rejected finished products due to the capping process. F&N Foods is able to reduce about 2 tonnes of plastic packaging per year, translating to material cost savings of $20,000 annually.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Throughout 2018, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) worked closely with its packaging providers to reduce the packaging materials used in its six products including BCS memory kit, DL20 Gen 9/10, DL360 Gen 10 servers, 2-stick and 4-stick dual in-line memory module. The reduction was achieved through optimisation of the packaging by reducing the dimensions and using lighter materials. Through the packaging redesign, the weight of each packaging was reduced by between 38 per cent and 80 per cent. As a result of these initiatives, HPE is able to achieve a total reduction of about 4.59 tonnes of packaging materials a year and $41,500 in material cost savings annually.
Toshiba Data Dynamics Pte Ltd
Since March 2018, Toshiba Data Dynamics has been regularly sending its used wooden pallets that were still in good condition to Wow Kampung, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), instead of disposing them. Wow Kampung uses the wooden pallets for its woodworking workshop to educate children on the importance of creating a sustainable future through the 3Rs and upcycling of used wooden pallets into artwork. Through this initiative, the company is able to reuse about 3.15 tonnes of wooden packaging annually.
Unilever Singapore Pte Ltd
In July 2018, Unilever Singapore Pte Ltd embarked on the redesign of its Breeze liquid detergent plastic bottles to reduce the use of packaging materials. The redesign, completed in December 2018, reduced the weight of each bottle by about 9 per cent from 225g to 205g. Through this initiative, Unilever Singapore was able to avoid about 9.4 tonnes of plastic packaging waste and achieved material cost savings of $20,143 annually.
WestRock Singapore Pte Ltd
To support its customer’s goal to reduce the use of packaging materials, WestRock Singapore Pte Ltd designed a lighter food tray made of paperboard and coated with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for ready-to-eat meals which was launched in March 2018. Compared to the old food tray made of polypropylene (PP) which weighed 20.0g each, the new tray was 0.7g or 4 per cent lighter. This has helped WestRock avoid up to 1.8 tonnes of packaging materials annually.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore Pte Ltd
Since February 2019, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Pte Ltd (WRS) ceased the provision of single-use paper boxes for staff lunch takeaways for corporate staff. The materialisation of the initiative was primarily the result of strong management and staff support. To facilitate the transition, the implementation of the new policy was communicated internally one month prior to its inception to help staff in adjusting to the new initiative. Through this initiative, WRS is able to avoid about 0.13 tonne of paper packaging waste annually.
Merit Award (SMEs)
Australian Fruit Juice (S) Pte Ltd
In February 2019, Australian Fruit Juice (S) Pte Ltd (AFJ) found a way to reduce the amount of packaging material used by reusing cardboard partitions which came with the supplies by its vendors as protective layer pads for delivery of its goods. This allowed the company to dispense the need to purchase new protective layer pads and avoid about 4.57 tonnes of paper packaging material a year, while reaping in annual cost savings of $7,800.
In another initiative, AFJ changed the cluster packaging for its fruit juices in plastic bottles, from paper carton to plastic bag made of recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) supplied to some of its customers. This resulted in a significant weight reduction of the packaging from 80g to 16.2g per piece, resulting in the avoidance of 4.59 tonnes of packaging per year, which translated to annual cost savings of $11,500.
Guava Amenities Pte Ltd
Liquid products, such as soap and shampoo, supplied by Guava Amenities Pte Ltd were previously packed in plastic bottles made of HDPE. In June 2018, the company reduced the amount of packaging used for these liquid products by switching to lighter collapsible pouches made of medium-density polyethylene (MDPE). This has helped Guava Amenities avoid 2.7 tonnes of plastic packaging waste annually.
In another initiative, the company has switched to lighter paper strips from plastic packaging for the packing of slippers supplied to hotels. By switching to lighter packaging, Guava Amenities was able to avoid about 0.2 tonne of packaging waste in a year.
Sunfresh Singapore Pte Ltd
In January 2019, Sunfresh Singapore Pte Ltd (Sunfresh) has switched to lighter, machine-sewn kraft paper bags for the 25kg additives used in producing reconstituted fruit juices from carton boxes. By changing the material of the bags, it is estimated that Sunfresh is able to avoid about 0.22 tonne of paper packaging waste annually.
To promote the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) and to highlight the importance of packaging waste reduction, Sunfresh included a write-up on the SPA on its website as well as their packaging waste reduction initiatives. In addition, Sunfresh also printed the “Signatory of Singapore Packaging Agreement Logo” on its 1-litre orange juice products.
Assessment Criteria for the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) Awards 2019
1 Only SPA signatories are eligible to win an Award, and initiatives assessed for the Awards must have been implemented between 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019. The initiatives assessed were also for the packaging of products largely meant for local consumption.
2 All signatories, except for commercial building owners and managers, were assessed on their efforts in the following areas:
i. Reduction, reuse or recycling of packaging waste
ii. Consumer education and/or industry outreach
iii. Reduction of other wastes (i.e. non-packaging waste)
iv. Use of recycled packaging material
v. Sustained efforts
vi. Use of Logo for Products with Reduced Packaging (LPRP)
3 Commercial building owners, Managers and Large Retailers were assessed on their efforts in the following areas:
i. Setting up and effective use of infrastructure to facilitate recycling or reuse of waste (including packaging waste
ii. Consumer education on 3Rs and/or industry outreach
iii. Implementation of programmes to prevent waste (including packaging waste)
iv. Sustained efforts
 Figure excludes metal recovered from incineration bottom ash for recycling.