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More waste produced in 2015, recycling rate also goes up

SINGAPORE — A growing population and rising affluence led to a rebound in the total amount of waste generated by the Republic, even as the recycling rate saw an uptick.

NEA said 785,550 tonnes of food waste were produced last year, down from 788,660 tonnes and 796,000 tonnes in 2014 and 2013 respectively. PHOTO: KOH MUI FONG

NEA said 785,550 tonnes of food waste were produced last year, down from 788,660 tonnes and 796,000 tonnes in 2014 and 2013 respectively. PHOTO: KOH MUI FONG

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SINGAPORE — A growing population and rising affluence led to a rebound in the total amount of waste generated by the Republic, even as the recycling rate saw an uptick.

The country churned out 7.67 million tonnes of waste last year, a 2.1 per cent increase from the 7.51 million tonnes generated in 2014, according to figures released by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The 2014 figure represented a 4.3 per cent dip from the amount of waste generated in 2013 — an anomalous decline amid a general upward trend in recent years.

The NEA said the increase in total waste generated last year was “in tandem with Singapore’s growing population and affluence”.

Regardless, last year’s figure was lower than the 7.85 million tonnes of waste generated in 2013.

Meanwhile, the amount of waste recycled rose from 4.47 million tonnes in 2014 to 4.65 million tonnes last year, although this was still shy of the about 4.83 million tonnes recycled in 2013.

The overall rate of recycling inched up by one percentage point last year to 61 per cent, from 60 per cent in 2014. The recycling rate has hovered consistently between 59 and 61 per cent over the last five years.

The NEA attributed the increase in last year’s recycling rate to “an uptick in the recycling of wood, horticultural waste and metals”. The recycling rate for horticultural waste, for instance, climbed to 66 per cent in 2015, from 59 per cent the previous year.

The amount of food waste generated — which the authorities have been trying to combat through a range of initiatives, including a campaign to tackle the problem last November — declined for a second straight year.

It stood at 785,550 tonnes last year, down from 788,600 tonnes and 796,000 tonnes in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Last year’s food waste levels were nevertheless markedly higher than the 675,500 tonnes generated in 2011.

But the recycling of food waste has continued on a steady ascent, with the amount of food waste recycled reaching 104,100 tonnes last year, up from 101,400 tonnes in 2014. In 2011, 69,700 tonnes of food waste were recycled.

The amount of plastic waste recycled, however, dipped to 57,800 tonnes last year, continuing the decline seen between 2013 and 2014.

In 2014, 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste were recycled, down from 91,100 tonnes in 2013.

After registering the biggest fall in 2014, the amount of construction-debris waste generated headed north again to reach 1.41 million tonnes last year.

In 2014, the Republic generated 1.27 million tonnes of construction-debris waste, a 25.1 per cent decline from about 1.7 million tonnes recorded in 2013.

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