Singapore's growing population and booming economy have contributed to a about 7-fold increase in the amount of solid waste disposed from 1,260 tonnes a day in 1970 to a peak of 8,559 tonnes a day in 2016.
Solid waste management in Singapore begins at homes and businesses. Prior to the collection of solid waste, recyclables are sorted and retrieved for processing to prolong the lifespans of recyclable materials. The solid waste that remains is then collected and sent to the various waste-to-energy plants for incineration. Incineration reduces the volume of solid waste by about 90% and produces steam that runs turbine-generators to generate electricity.
The incinerated ash and other non-incinerable wastes are then transported to the Tuas Marine Transfer Station (TMTS) for the barging operation to Semakau Landfill where they are disposed of.
Currently, Singapore's solid waste disposal infrastructure consists of four waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, viz: Tuas, Senoko, Tuas South and Keppel Seghers Tuas Waste-To-Energy Plant (KSTP), as well as the Semakau Landfill.
KSTP was developed under a Design, Build, Own and Operate (DBOO) model and commissioned in 2009 to replace Singapore's first WTE plant at Ulu Pandan, which was closed in August 2009 after 30 years of successful operation. The Senoko Incineration Plant was also divested to the private sector in September 2009 and has since been renamed Senoko Waste-To-Energy Plant (SWTE).
The incineration of solid waste reduces its volume by about 90%. Over the long-term, this has helped land-scarce Singapore to reduce her need for future landfills, hence creating a sustainable waste management framework.
For a comprehensive view of the incineration process, please click here.
Tuas Marine Transfer Station
Ash from the waste-to-energy plants and non-incinerable solid waste are brought to the Tuas Marine Transfer Station (TMTS), a unique facility that allows solid waste to be unloaded directly from vehicles into long barges. Specially designed tugboats then push the covered barges on a 3-hour long journey to Semakau Landfill located 30km away from TMTS.
For a more comprehensive view of the waste management process at Tuas Marine Transfer Station, please click here.
Semakau Landfill opened on 1 April 1999 and is currently Singapore’s only landfill facility. Covering an area of 350 hectares, it is expected to meet the country’s solid waste disposal needs up to 2035 and beyond. In 2016, the landfill received an average of 2,189 tonnes of WTE plant ash and non-incinerable waste daily.
Measures taken during the landfill’s construction to protect the marine environment ensured that the coral reefs along Pulau Semakau’s western shore remain largely intact. The two plots of replanted mangroves are also thriving and can be seen from the bund.
For a more comprehensive view of the solid waste disposal process at Semakau Landfill, please click here.
Development of Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF)
NEA is looking into the development of an Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) to help Singapore meet its future waste management needs and achieve long term environmental sustainability. As a state-of-the-art flagship facility, it will be developed with innovative solutions that can maximise both energy and resource recovery from solid waste. As the IWMF and the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (TWRP) will be co-located at the same Tuas View Basin site, various synergies will be derived to benefit both NEA and PUB.
Click here for more details on the development of the IWMF.