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New Technical Reference To Guide Companies On Sustainable Packaging Practices

07 Oct 2022


            Singapore, 7 October 2022 - To equip producers of packaged products as well as retailers with industry best practices on sustainable packaging in Singapore, a new Technical Reference (TR) 109 on Sustainable Packaging Guiding Framework and Practices was launched at the Singapore Manufacturing Federation’s (SMF) Packaging Partnership Programme (PPP) x Packaging Council of Singapore (PCS) Conference 2022 . Announced by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Amy Khor, the new TR is developed by a multi-stakeholder Working Group, appointed by the Singapore Standards Council, overseen by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG). More details on the Working Group can be found in Annex A.

Technical Reference 109 on Sustainable Packaging Guiding Framework and Practices

2.       The TR 109 specifies guidelines, criteria, and best practices in implementing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer packaging, taking into consideration practices that are sustainable in Singapore’s context. It covers the life cycle of packaging, starting upstream from packaging design to end-of-life management and is applicable across industries.

3.       Packaging waste is a priority waste stream because it is generated in large quantities but recycled inadequately. In 2021, out of the 1.58 million tonnes of domestic waste disposed of, about one-third was packaging waste. Under the Zero Waste Masterplan and the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Singapore aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill per capita per day by 20 per cent by 2026 and 30 per cent by 2030. Singapore also aims to increase the national recycling rate to 70 per cent by 2030.

4.       By helping companies understand how they can develop 3R plans for packaging waste, TR 109 will be a useful reference for companies when submitting such plans as required under the Mandatory Packaging Reporting (MPR) scheme. Introduced by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in 2021 under the Resource Sustainability Act, the MPR scheme requires producers of packaged products and retailers to report annually the amount of packaging they introduce into Singapore, as well as their plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging in Singapore. MPR raises greater awareness among companies of the potential benefits of reducing packaging and packaging waste while spurring them to implement measures to reap the benefits.

Packaging Partnership Programme x Packaging Council of Singapore Conference 2022

5.       To support companies and encourage them to adopt sustainable packaging waste management practices, the Packaging Partnership Programme (PPP) was officially launched on 24 March 2021. It is an industry-led initiative by the SMF, in partnership with NEA. Through workshops and resources, the PPP facilitates the exchange of sustainable packaging best practices and builds companies’ capabilities to fulfil regulatory requirements such as the MPR. To date, the PPP has held over 15 events, including workshops, training sessions, webinars, and conferences, and more than 700 companies have benefited from these initiatives. Following the launch, PPP will organise workshops to let more companies know about TR 109.

6.       The Packaging Council of Singapore (PCS), an industry group under the SMF, aims to serve as the voice of the packaging industry as well as to drive packaging innovation, development and co-operation in the packaging industry.  

7.       Titled “Moving Towards Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging”, the PPP x PCS Conference 2022 is the first conference whereby PCS and PPP collaborated to bring packaging companies across the packaging value chain together to share about developments and best practices in sustainable packaging and packaging waste management. More than 200 companies attended the hybrid conference, in-person at M Hotel and via livestream, where they gained a better understanding of the TR, sustainable packaging design, and an Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging waste management.

8.       SMF President Mr Lennon Tan, said, “The SMF is pleased to be actively involved in the development of Technical Reference (TR) 109 through the Packaging Partnership Programme (PPP).  TR 109 will provide guidance for companies in managing their packaging waste, guide them in fulfilling their Mandatory Packaging Reporting (MPR) requirements, and, prepare them for the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging waste management. In line with the SMF’s efforts in encouraging our members to include more environmentally sustainable processes in their business, it is hoped that through TR 109, more companies will adopt sustainable packaging practices with greater ease.”

9.       Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Director-General (Quality and Excellence), Enterprise Singapore, said “Sustainability has become increasingly important in recent years. It is imperative for companies to adopt sustainable packaging and end of life management to support Singapore’s circular economy. TR 109 was developed with this in mind - to provide clear guidelines to help companies determine the packaging strategies in line with their business and sustainable goals. We encourage companies to adopt TR 109 as it will help them achieve their sustainability objectives and build a sustainable brand to meet the needs of their customers.”

10.   Please refer to Annex B for a summary of TR 109’s key guidelines and best practices. TR 109 is available for purchase at the Singapore Standards eshop at

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Annex A

The multi-stakeholder Working Group that developed TR 109 was formed by the Technical Committee for Circularity of Materials, under the purview of Environment & Resources Standards Committee.

Key stakeholders in the Working Group with experts participating in their individual capacity include:

1.     Alba W&H Smart City Pte Ltd
2.     Alliance to End Plastic Waste
3.     Borouge Pte Ltd
4.     Dell Global B.V. (Singapore)
5.     Havi Global Solutions
6.     Johnson and Johnson Pte Ltd
7.     Lazada Singapore Pte Ltd
8.     Miraclon Singapore Pte Ltd
9.     National Environment Agency (NEA)
10.  Novartis Singapore Pte Ltd
11.  Omni-Plus System Limited
12.  Procter & Gamble
13.  Shalom Movers Pte Ltd
14.  Singapore Environment Council
15.  Singapore Post
16.  TRIA Pte Ltd
17.  TUV SUD Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
18.  Zero Waste City

Secretariat support for the Working Group:

1.     Standards Development Organisation at Singapore Chemical Industry Council
2.     Packaging Partnership Programme, Singapore Manufacturing Federation


Annex B

Details of TR 109 on sustainable packaging guiding framework and practices

TR 109 provides a guiding framework for companies to adopt more sustainable packaging-related practices such as reduction, collection for re-use and/or recycling, use of recycled content in packaging material and improved recyclability of packaging in line with the objective of the Mandatory Packaging Reporting (MPR) scheme requirements.

While there are existing packaging-related guidelines/standards available (e.g., international standards), they tend to focus on topics which are too narrow and may not be relevant for Singapore’s context. The misconception that biodegradable materials are more environmentally friendly as compared to other materials is one such topic.

The TR is developed from a base document, the Singapore Environmental Code of Practice for Packaging of Consumer Goods.

TR 109 Technical Reference Sustainable packaging guiding framework and practices covers the followings:

a)    General packaging requirements
Covers the functions of primary, secondary and tertiary packaging while ensuring the health, safety and consumer protection and end-of-life considerations.

b)    Principles of developing sustainable packaging
The waste management hierarchy implies the order of preference to be primarily for reduction followed by re-use, recycle and disposal respectively, implementing these strategies may result in trade-offs which need to be made. For example, designing a packaging to be re-used might entail a multi-composite product instead of a single material product to make it more durable and safer to be re-used multiple times. While this may make it easier to be re-used, it may result in an increase of materials used and may pose problems for recycling. Hence, a proper analysis of these trade-offs should be conducted to understand if these strategies truly result in a more sustainable packaging with respect to the waste, carbon emissions, and other relevant sustainability metrics.

Waste management hierarchy

Waste management hierarchy

c)    Environmental design requirements
Covers practical guidance to organisations to improve the design and use of packaging at upstream and downstream in order to minimise its environmental impact.

1.     Upstream considerations
   Packaging reduction
-   Design for re-use
-  Selection of packaging materials

2.     Downstream considerations
   Design for recyclability
-   Design for organic recycling
-   Design for disposal

3.     Special considerations

d)    Environmental claims
Provides the principles of making environmental claims: accuracy, relevance, clarity, transparency, accessibility.