Opportunities for the Circular Economy in Singapore

February 21, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Singapore green economy

Here are some key opportunities to build the circular economy in Singapore:

1) Set Policies on the Circular Economy

Currently there are no government policies addressing the potential of the circular economy. The government can set the direction and implement policies on the circular economy, which would help reduce incineration and landfilling of waste, build resilience on materials and resources, and create new job opportunities. Regulations such as Extended Producer Responsibility and minimum recycled content could be introduced.

2) Encourage Businesses to Explore the Circular Economy

Currently the awareness on the circular economy is lacking among companies. There should be more education and training for companies to increase awareness on the need, potential and skills for the circular economy.

Companies have to rethink their business models, adopt systems thinking, redesign their products and processes, and explore reuse, remanufacturing and recycling.

3) Educate Product Designers and Students on the Circular Economy

Tertiary institutions with courses on product design should be encouraged to include the concept of green design in their syllabus. Students should be exposed to circular economy concepts such as Cradle to Cradle, Biomimicry, and Design for Durability and Disassembly. In addition, students could have attachment and internship opportunities to work with product manufacturers to redesign their products for circularity.

There should also be more courses and workshops for product designers to learn about circular economy concepts and case studies.

4) Encourage Repair, Reuse, Redistribute and Sharing

Consumers should be educated that it is better to repair and reuse items instead of throwing them away. Unwanted items should be redistributed or sent for recycling.

Consumers can also look at the sharing economy to share, rent, borrow, give or exchange items, instead of buying them.

5) Increase the Use of Biological Nutrients

Food waste is currently incinerated as there are no anaerobic digestion plants in Singapore. Food waste are biological nutrients and should be collected and digested to produce biogas and fertilisers that can be safely returned back to the land.

Plastics are one of the most common types of waste generated in Singapore, and also commonly found as trash in our waterways and coasts. Plastic disposables and packaging are usually not collected for recycling due to contamination and low economic value. There could be opportunities to switch from plastic disposables and packaging to biodegradable ones, so that the material can be digested together with food waste in the digestion plants.

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