Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Packaging Partnership Programme Conference, on 24 March 2021
Mr Douglas Foo, President of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation
Ms Betty Tan, Chairperson of the Packaging Partnership Programme
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 A very good morning to all of you. It is my pleasure to be here to celebrate the achievements of the recipients of the 2020 Singapore Packaging Agreement Awards, as well as the launch of the Packaging Partnership Programme.
Towards Zero Waste
2 With rising consumption and increasing waste generation, the amount of waste disposed of in Singapore has increased sevenfold over the past 40 years. Our only landfill, the Semakau Landfill, is expected to run out of space by 2035. Increased waste generation also exacerbates climate change, as the manufacturing of the waste materials, and the subsequent disposal, transportation and incineration of waste all contribute to carbon emissions. We must therefore reduce waste in packaging, and shift our economic model from a linear approach of make, use and throw, to a circular economy approach of reusing and recycling our resources for as long as possible.
3 To advance the sustainability agenda in Singapore, the Government recently launched a national movement — the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The Green Plan strengthens our efforts in sustainable development, and sets concrete and ambitious targets over the next 10 years. One area of focus is waste reduction. In 2019, we had set a target under the Zero Waste Masterplan to reduce our waste to landfill by 30 per cent by 2030. Under the Green Plan, we are going to front-load our efforts to divert waste from the landfill, and aim for a 20 per cent reduction by 2026. The Government will also implement GreenGov.SG, a public service initiative that will embed environmental sustainability in its core business areas such as green procurement to catalyse green practices in the economy.
4 Packaging waste is one of the key waste streams we have been focusing on, as it constitutes about one-third of Singapore's domestic waste. As part of our Zero Waste Masterplan, we will implement an Extended Producer Responsibility Framework on packaging waste. Under an EPR Framework, producers will be responsible for the collection and treatment of their packaging materials. A foundational step towards the EPR Framework is mandatory packaging reporting, or MPR, that was introduced this year. This aims to draw the attention of companies to the packaging waste produced and to encourage companies to actively manage and reduce the amount of waste generated. One form of EPR is a Deposit Refund Scheme, which will enable producers to collect, and for consumers to return used beverage containers at designated return points. Beyond this, we will continue to engage the industry and target to implement the broader EPR Framework for packaging waste no later than 2025.
A Successful Partnership: the Singapore Packaging Agreement
5 One of our early efforts to deal with packaging waste is the Singapore Packaging Agreement, or the SPA. First signed in 2007, and subsequently renewed in 2012 and in 2015, the SPA is a joint initiative by the Government, industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to collectively reduce packaging waste. Close to 250 companies have signed the agreement, and have collectively reduced 62,000 tonnes of packaging waste, saving $150 million in packaging material costs. These are substantial accomplishments which would not have been possible without the support of the companies under the SPA
6 One such company is F&N Foods, whichwas a signatory of the SPA for many years and won multiple awards for its efforts to reduce packaging waste. In 2019, F&N Foods reduced close to 60 tonnes of packaging waste by optimising the design of its product packaging. This is equivalent to the amount of waste generated by 24,000 households in a day. F&N Foods also worked with the National Environment Agency(NEA) to introduce Reverse Vending Machines across Singapore from 2019, under the Recycle N Save initiative. As of end last year, close to four millionbeverage containers have been collected under this initiative.
7 Another example is Resorts World Sentosa. Since 2019, RWS has replaced disposable cups with reusables ones, and removed unnecessary packaging such as inner plastic packaging for retail products. These initiatives are projected to save over 3.4 tonnes of packaging materials per year. RWS is also engaging the public and its employees through initiatives such as the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp Network, which focuses on empowering youths to reduce plastic usage, and field trips to Sungei Buloh to highlight the impact of marine debris.
8 F&N Foods and RWSare two of the 15 companies that we are recognising under 2020 Singapore Packaging Agreement Awards today. My heartiest congratulations to all the SPA award recipients!
9 I would also like to thank the many individuals who have served on the Singapore Packaging Agreement Governing Board, including Mr Albert Lim, Mr Michael Ho, Mr Ong Lye Huat and Mr Sunny Koh for serving as chairmen of the Governing Board. And to the many others who are present with us today, in-person and online, thank you for contributing to our vision of becoming a Zero Waste Nation.
The Next Lap: Packaging Partnership Programme
10 Today, we are launching the Packaging Partnership Programme (PPP). Working together with the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, the PPP aims to develop industry capability in managing packaging waste sustainably and support companies in their journey towards sustainable packaging waste management. The PPP provides workshops and training courses for companies to familiarise with the MPR framework. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, six such sessions have been organised, with over 300 participants engaged on topics ranging from packaging recycling solutions to innovative packaging management technologies. I am told by NEA that some sessions were oversubscribed.
11 With the PPP, I am confident that our industries are on track to be more resource efficient. Singapore companies involved in packaging would also be better positioned to leverage opportunities in sustainable packaging, which will be tremendous. By 2027, the global green packaging market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6 per cent to reach a market value of over half a trillion dollars!
12 Let me conclude. As global economies build back from COVID-19, sustainability can become Singapore's competitive advantage, and provide new opportunities for growth and job creation. I encourage companies to leverage on the new Packaging Partnership Programme to support our sustainability agenda. Together, we can and will make Singapore a City of Green Possibilities.