Plastic bags targeted as Singapore marks World Environment Day

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Retailers may have to report their usage as part of intiative

Supermarkets and other retailers may be required to report the amount of plastic bags they use and plans to reduce their usage by 2021.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, announced this on World Environment Day yesterday at the launch of the United Nations (UN) Environment's #BeatPlasticPollution campaign.

The move is in line with earlier plans by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to make it mandatory by 2021 for businesses to report on their packaging waste and their waste reduction plans.

Separately, four major electronic retailers - Best Denki, Courts, Gain City and Harvey Norman - announced they will be putting up 20 e-waste collection bins at their outlets by the end of this week for shoppers to dispose of their old mobile phones, dead batteries and other e-waste.

The move is part of a new agreement that sees the four companies joining the REcycling Nation's Electronic Waste (Renew) programme, a voluntary community initiative jointly run by telco StarHub, delivery firm DHL and recycler TES.

Yesterday, a 120m caterpillar made from discarded plastic bottles was also unveiled at Marina Barrage to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

The art installation will be on display for a month, during which more plastic bottles decorated to look like flowers will be added by volunteers from schools, businesses and government agencies.

Two other art installations at City Square Mall and South Beach Avenue, along with recycled plastic installations located in 11 other Asia Pacific cities, will also be put up to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

Dr Khor reiterated the need to tackle excessive use of disposable plastic, pointing to how disposable utensils will not be allowed in new hawker centres here for dine-in.


"The manufacturing of more plastics, and the stagnating recycling rate have exacerbated climate change," she said.

Figures released by the NEA show that the rate of plastic recycling fell last year, even as the amount of plastic waste generated has decreased.

Some 815,200 tonnes of plastic waste were generated last year, down from 822,200 tonnes in 2016.

Less than 6 per cent of plastic waste was recycled last year, compared with 7 per cent in 2016. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KIMBERLEY CHIA