OPENING REMARKS BY MS GRACE FU, MINISTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE OFFICIAL INAUGURATION OF ABRACLEAN’S RECYLED GLASS ABRASIVE MANUFACTURING UNIT ON 31 JANUARY 2023
Mr Gurmit Singh, Chairman, Abraclean
Colonel (Retired) Lau Kee Siong, Director, Abraclean
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 Good afternoon, everyone. It is my pleasure to witness the inauguration of Abraclean’s glass recycling facility.
2 I learnt that the facility can process 80 per cent of glass waste into “Abrablast”, a recycled glass abrasive which can be used for blasting and coating. The remaining 20 per cent of glass dust is not wasted either. It can be used in the production of light-weight bricks and construction materials.
3 Since the facility began operating in 2021, Abraclean has been diverting glass waste away from Semakau Landfill. I understand that Abraclean plans to recycle 3,500 tonnes of glass waste by March 2024, enough to fill up seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. This is sizable. By converting trash to treasure, it will support Singapore’s journey towards becoming a zero-waste nation.
4 Waste is a growing challenge for the world. The World Bank estimates that global waste generation is expected to increase by more than 70 per cent from 2020 levels by 2050. This is more than double the expected population growth over the same period.
Singapore’s context and efforts to address waste
5 In Singapore, the amount of waste disposed of has increased seven-fold over the past 40 years. At this rate, Semakau Landfill, our only landfill, is expected to run out of space by 2035. Waste incineration also results in carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.
6 Singapore has laid out our approach to address this challenge in our Zero Waste Masterplan. The Masterplan sets out ambitious targets to extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill beyond 2035, increase our overall recycling rate to 70 per cent by 2030, and reduce the amount of daily waste per capita we send to Semakau Landfill by 30 per cent by 2030.
7 To achieve these goals, we introduced the Resource Sustainability Act in 2019 to regulate our three priority waste streams of food, electronic waste and packaging waste. We are also optimising waste management infrastructure and transforming the waste management sector.
8 Earlier this month, we launched the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map 2025, which lays out plans to transform the industry into one that is professional, technology-enabled, and productive. Key initiatives include the NEA-Industry Scholarship programme for ITE and Polytechnic graduates, and the Progressive Wage Model for the waste management sector that will take effect on the first of July later this year.
9 We are also leveraging science and technology to achieve our goals. Under the Closing the Waste Loop Funding Initiative, we have committed $37 million to fund 15 research and development projects on treatment and resource recovery of priority waste streams. These projects will minimise waste going to Semakau Landfill while extracting maximum value out of them.
Role of businesses in addressing waste
10 Businesses are in a unique position to support our collective efforts in helping Singapore move towards zero-waste. Optimising your processes can achieve greater resource efficiency. Innovations can be put in place to turn trash into treasure. In doing so, you also influence your supply chains and industry toward more sustainable practices.
11 Businesses which adopt sustainable waste management solutions stand to benefit financially. Take plastic waste for example – companies are looking into transforming plastic waste into pyrolysis oil, which can be used as a feedstock for the manufacturing of chemicals and plastics. This extracts value out of plastic waste, moving us towards a circular economy.
12 Closing our waste loop is challenging but achievable. Just like how we have closed the water loop by recycling used water into NEWater, we can potentially close the waste loop by optimising resource use and turning trash into treasure. We will need all stakeholders to play their part. We must work together to steward our resources so that our future generations can benefit from a more sustainable, resource-efficient, and climate-resilient Singapore.
13 On that note, I invite you to make a Green Nation pledge at go.gov.sg/greennationpledge and commit to play your part. Do encourage your colleagues and partners to do so too.
14 Thank you once again and I wish everyone a great evening ahead.