Packaging waste is a growing environmental problem and is weighing on businesses. In 2017, packaging materials accounted for one-third of the 1.67 million tonnes of household waste dumped in Singapore to fill more than 1,000 Olympic swimming pools. Plastic accounts for about half of the materials in consumer goods packaging, the rest in paper, aluminum and glass. The PPP is a joint capacity development program that will help businesses meet their new obligations under the mandatory packaging reporting framework from January 1, 2021 and allow for the exchange of best practices in sustainable packaging waste management. June 5 of this year was a monumental day for Singapore on two fronts. Singapore not only celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA), but also announced the obligation to notify packaging data and the waste prevention plan. This requires celebration, because the National Environment Agency (NEA) – the government agency that runs the SPA – is making significant progress in the “Towards a Zero Waste Nation” movement. For many companies, the shift to early packaging waste reduction can be frightening. This is particularly the case for a company that may not have the financial means or resources to use research and development to reinvent its packaging, to become more environmentally friendly. Singapore should be proud to take the lead in the fight against packaging waste at the national level. With further improvements to the GSB, Singapore can certainly become a leader in waste management in ASEAN. The main objective of the BSG is 1) to reduce waste from product packaging and 2) to raise awareness and awareness of waste prevention among consumers. The NEA values its signatories to the “remarkable efforts and achievements in reducing packaging waste” and pays tribute to the best practices of its signatories to the Singapore Packaging Agreement Awards (formerly known as the 3R Packaging Awards).
Adopting a circular economic approach to closing the resource loops of food waste, packaging waste and packaging waste, including plastics, will bring us closer to our future at Zero Waste, where households and industry consume less, waste less and recycle more. The SPA Awards are commendable in that they encourage companies to improve their packaging and reduce waste in order to receive the coveted award. However, the criteria for attribution must be transparently weighted. A look at the 2016 winners saw two extremes. In the same category, one company recorded annual savings of $117,000 and another $140. To help companies implement sustainable packaging waste management practices, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation has partnered with the National Environment Agency to implement a new industry-run program called the Packaging Partnership Program (PPP). The annual spa awards were used to recognize the signatories who have made remarkable efforts and successes in reducing packaging waste. Since many of the BSG signatories are international groups, the definition of a “packager” in this agreement needs to be clearer.