Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Contamination Rate of Recyclable Waste by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Ms Hany Soh: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) apart from improving the productivity and efficiency of recyclable items collected, whether NEA has conducted any studies to understand if the contamination rate of recyclable waste has indeed been reduced with the adoption of the new side-loader truck blue recycling bins; and (b) whether NEA will consider increasing the collection frequency of recyclables from the blue recycling bins in HDB estates and private-landed properties.
1 Since April 2020, the frequency of recyclables collection for the regular 660-liter recycling bins at HDB estates has been increased from one time to at least three times weekly. Side-loading recycling bins with about three times the usual capacity have also been introduced in estates where space allows, with a collection frequency of once a week due to its larger capacity. Recyclables are collected from private landed properties on a weekly basis. We are working with the Public Waste Collectors to deploy resources to collect recyclables more frequently from locations with a higher recycling rate.
2 The introduction of the side-loading recycling bins was meant to increase bin capacity and improve manpower productivity rather than to reduce contamination rates. We continue to face challenges with the contamination of the recyclables collected in both the regular 660-liter recycling bins and the side-loading recycling bins. Items containing food or liquid waste are sometimes disposed of in recycling bins. Non-recyclable items such as soft toys and clothing are also sometimes found in recycling bins. The National Environment Agency (NEA) launched the Recycle Right Campaign and introduced user-friendly educational content to encourage the community to cultivate the right recycling habits. I encourage everyone to do their part and recycle right.