SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 2 November 2021 - The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Equinix, the world's digital
infrastructure companyTM, have concluded a four-month Reverse
Vending Machine (RVM) pilot project at Republic Polytechnic and Temasek
Polytechnic to promote students' recycling habits. A total of 3,555 and 3,442
used beverage containers were collected at Temasek Polytechnic and Republic
Polytechnic respectively, with a contribution of $10,800 made towards benefitting underprivileged students at the two
polytechnics. The pilot demonstrated the potential and capability of public-private-people
partnerships to deliver green solutions with the ability to scale up to more
educational institutions and food and beverage (F&B) establishments in
one way to encourage the domestic recycling of used beverage containers at
source. Utilising the technology of the in-built camera to capture images of
the container, the software identifies the type of container before sorting
them into different storage bins with the collection data recorded for viewing
by an online system. All containers are collected weekly by SembWaste and
sent for recycling at Sembcorp's material-recovery facility, avoiding
incineration and landfilling.
Yee May Leong,
Managing Director of Equinix South Asia, said, "As a Fortune 500 company with
over 230 International Business ExchangeTM (IBX®) data centers
globally, Equinix has a responsibility to connect and support local
communities, and power the world in a sustainable manner. Through sponsoring
the RVM Polytechnic project, we are pleased to have contributed to the national
recycling programme, whilst educating students and helping those in need along
the way. We hope this meaningful project encourages everyone, especially the
youths who are our leaders of tomorrow, to do more together to create a better
pilot project is indicative of Equinix's efforts in catalysing collective
action in the community for the betterment of society through utilising new
technologies and innovations.
Executive Director of SEC, said, "We are extremely heartened by the support of
the schools and students for this project pilot. While COVID-19 has certainly
presented challenges, the pilot has nevertheless allowed us to get a better sense
of sentiment on the ground. With the National Environment Agency (NEA) expected
to roll out its Deposit Refund Scheme by 2022, the insights will help us refine
how we engage not just the schools but the community as a whole. We believe that
such an approach is critical as we work together with the government to drive Singapore
towards a zero-waste nation."
million plastic drink bottles are used in Singapore each year, equivalent to
the size of 94 Olympic-sized swimming pools. COVID-19 has aggravated plastic
waste from takeaways and food deliveries. A 2020 study conducted by NUS Alumni
found that Singapore households generated an extra 1,334 tonnes of plastic
waste from takeaways and food deliveries during the country's two-month circuit
breaker in 2020. And yet, according to the NEA's 2020 Waste and Recycling Statistics, only 4% of plastics were recycled last year.
This pales in comparison with 11% for glass and 19% for food waste and shows
the vast scope for recycling plastics.
packaging waste, Singapore has designated e-waste and food waste as priority
streams under its Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework. The first phase of the EPR will be
the Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS). To be rolled out by 2022, this is a
nation-wide system to take back and recycle used beverage containers. DRS aims
to aggregate the collection of post-consumer plastic waste and ensure a steady
supply of feedstock for recycling, ultimately closing the plastic-waste loop.
As envisaged in the Singapore Green Plan 2030, DRS will bolster national efforts to reduce waste
per capita sent to landfills by 30 per cent by 2030.
Ms Teo added, "We strongly believe that collaboration
between the private, public and people sectors is the way forward to make a
deeper impact on recycling beverage container waste and contribute to our
nation's zero-waste goals. We hope that as more forward-thinking companies and organisations
step forward to partner us, we can collectively accelerate efforts to make
recycling convenient to consumers through the Reverse Vending Machine and other
Note to the Editor:
refer to the Annex
from Temasek Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic.
Director, Estates &
Facilities Management Department
"This partnership with SEC may be a small
step, but we believe it would go a long way towards educating the Temasek Polytechnic
community on how we can play our part to protect the planet for future
Diploma student, Green
Building & Sustainability
"The Reverse Vending Machine project is a great
initiative as it allows us to do our part for the environment by recycling
bottles and cans rather than indiscriminately throwing them into bins."
Environmental Science, Year 2, and member of Conservation Interest Group
are many students on campus who buy bottled and canned drinks, it's great
that we are able to be proactive in recycling our used containers through the
Reverse Vending Machine."
critical that we come up with innovative solutions to address the global
challenge of waste management. The Reverse Vending Machine is one such solution,
and I look forward to more machines being rolled out across the different
locations in Singapore."