Plastic recycling in Singapore
In 2022, out of 1,001 thousand tonnes of plastic waste generated in Singapore, only 6% (57 thousand tonnes) are recycled.
The global production and consumption of plastics have been on the rise, due to the increase in single-use plastics (disposable cups, utensils, straws, bags and most food packaging) that are thrown away immediately after use.
Very often, plastics that reaches the bin are already contaminated, either by food and drink residues, or are made up of a mixture of different kinds of plastics. This greatly complicates and affects the recycling and segregation process.
A plastic drink bottle for instance, is commonly made up of 3 types of plastics;
The heat shrink label – PVC
The bottle cap – HDPE
Though PET bottles are easily recyclable when it is clean, the process of separating the labels (PVC) and bottle caps (HDPE) is often a difficult, costly, labour intensive and time consuming process, which is why most of these plastics end up in the landfills instead of being recycled.
Plastic identification codes not mean that the plastic is recyclable, rather, it is developed to help categorize plastic products according to their material type.
Types of industrial plastic collected
We currently only accept the following industrial plastics:-
• Clean, Clear Stretch Film with no labels, tapes, and stickers (LPDE)
• Clean IC Tubes with no labels and stickers
• Clean IC Reels with no labels and stickers (PS – Colour & PS – White)
• Acrylic (PMMA)
• Clean Liquid Container with no labels and stickers (HDPE – White)
• IC Trays
• Plastic Resins
Plastic recycling process
The process of plastic recycling often involves:-
- Collection of plastics.
- Sorting the plastics into different categories based on their respective identificiation codes. The different plastic products must be further sorted into coloured and non-coloured (clear/white). Clear plastics fetches the highest value, as it can be easily dyed into any other colour.
- Plastics are washed and cleaned, so as to ensure that debris and contaminants are removed. It is then shredded, crushed into flakes, or melted and pelletized into granulates, which are used to manufacture new products.