Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment whether the Ministry will consider highlighting (i) the life-cycle assessment of the carbon footprints of plastic bags vis-à-vis paper bags and reusable cotton bags and (ii) the challenges of composting paper in the Singapore context as NEA rolls out its disposable carrier bag charge.
1 In 2018, the National Environment Agency (NEA) released the key findings of a life-cycle assessment study on carrier bags and food packaging used in Singapore. The study estimated that using a reusable bag for one year could replace 125 single-use plastic bags, or 52 single-use paper bags.
2 The study found that single-use plastic bags had the highest global warming potential and energy consumption. On the other hand, single-use paper bags and single-use biodegradable plastic bags contributed significantly to deforestation and had high water consumption among the carrier bags studied. Hence, substituting single-use bags of a certain material type (e.g. plastic bags) with single-use bags of another material type (e.g. paper or biodegradable plastics) would not necessarily result in a better environmental outcome. The most environmentally friendly option is to minimise use of disposables where possible, by reusing our carrier bags.
3 There is no paper composting or recycling facility in Singapore. Paper recyclables collected are aggregated and sent to overseas facilities for recycling.
4 Ahead of the implementation of the disposable carrier bag charge from 3 July 2023, we encourage everyone to do their part for the environment by using reusable bags.