Beverage Packaging to Get Refundable Deposit in Container Return Scheme
The scheme, recommended by the 2019 Citizens' Workgroup on #RecycleRight, will see plastic bottles and metal drink cans to get a refundable deposit of 10 cents.
by: The Beat Asia
January 27, 2023
A joint smart programme in Punggol Shore was piloted by SembWaste, a Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) subsidiary, and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) in a bid to bolster the recycling rates of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles in the city-state.
The initiative, Rebottle, aims to get more Singaporeans to recycle PET bottles. This type of plastic polymer is commonly used for the packaging of soft drinks, water, salad dressings, peanut butter, and jams.
Rebottle was formally launched on Dec. 17, 2022, as per a press release by Sembcorp. This three-month pilot will see Rebottle deployed at 10 Housing and Development Board blocks in the Punggol Coral estate, along with Prime and Ang Mo supermarkets in Punggol Shore.
Rebottle uses repurposed supermarket cages that incorporate Internet of Technology solutions to report waste collection data in real time. With this date, Sembcorp will be able to keep track of the number of PET bottles dropped off in the cages and notify if the cages are at maximum capacity.
These cages were developed by SP students from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) and Media, Arts and Design (MAD) School, according to a press release by SP on Dec. 17, 2022. The cages, as explained by DCPE Year 3 student Peh Jun Xiang, are able to carry the weight of bottles containing liquids in the event that these are not emptied when disposed of. While it is recommended to empty the bottles before placing them at the collection points, residents are not required to wash them.
With Rebottle, SP and SembWaste aim to triple the recycling rates to around 18,000 PET bottles and bring down Punggol Coral's contamination rate by 10% after the three-month pilot.
Prior to the launch of Rebottle, SembWaste conducted a waste profile exercise to look at what kind of materials are dropped off at Punggol Coral’s recycling bins. It was discovered that 52% of the materials were written off for recycling due to contamination or because these weren't recyclable, while only 1% were recyclable PET bottles.
In the release, SembWaste CEO Lee Kok Kin shared his hopes for Rebottle to improve Singapore's recycling rates and bring down the city-state's landfill disposal.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lim Joo Ghee, acting director of the School of EEE, said that since Singapore is land-scarce, it is imperative to conserve its "limited landfill space, which is set to run out by 2035."
"SP is dedicated to working with SembWaste to encourage residents to cultivate a habit of recycling, by making it easier and more accessible," Lim was quoted as saying. "We hope that by bringing these smart recycling receptacles to the heartlands, more people will be motivated to make a difference.”
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