Waste and cleaning industries must transform themselves: Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

Waste and cleaning industries must transform themselves: Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Distinction Award winners of the 3R Packaging Award Dr Lim Bee Gim (left), Application Group Manager of Nestle Singapore (Pte) Ltd and Mr Tan Bock Teck, Manufacturing Director of Seagate Technology International.

SINGAPORE - "If you keep thinking that waste is something to be thrown away and cleaning as something to pick up after someone has dumped on you, that is a zero-sum game," said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.


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Here is the statement from the National Environment Agency:

Packaging waste makes up about a third of domestic waste disposed of in Singapore. To tackle this issue, the National Environment Agency (NEA) started working with companies to explore ways on how they can reduce waste generation at source, with concomitant cost savings from conservation of packaging resources.Since the first Singapore Packaging Agreement inked in 2007, signatories have reduced a cumulative total of more than 20,000 tons of packaging waste, saving an equivalent of more than $44 million to date.

Tonight, 20 companies were recognised for their efforts and achievements in reducing packaging waste at the 3R Packaging Awards. The awards were presented by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the WasteMET Asia and CleanMET Asia Industry Networking Dinner on 3 June 2014 at the Singapore Art Museum (see Annex A for list of winners).

The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) provides a platform and structure for industries to reduce packaging waste from product packaging, and to raise awareness and educate consumers on the benefits of reducing packaging waste. Following its successful run from 2007 to 2012, signatories were keen to renew their commitment.

As a result, the second SPA commenced on 1 July 2012. The companies who signed the SPA will work together to achieve a total annual reduction of 6,500 tons of packaging waste by 2015. As of 31 May 2014, the total annual amount of packaging waste reduced was about 5,370 tons. The participating companies achieved these results through various initiatives, such as reducing the size or thickness of their product packaging, eliminating unnecessary packaging, or changing the way products are packaged.

Among the platinum award recipients was Nestlé Singapore (Pte) Ltd. The company reduced the thickness of its MILO® 900g pouch and NESCAFE® Original 3-in-1 Coffee stick pack, and removed the cardboard dividers when packing products for deliveries. These changes not only resulted in cost savings but also allowed the company to play its part of caring for the environment by conserving more than 36 tons of packaging resources per year. Nestlé also went a step further, incorporating a QR code onto its MILO® 1.4 kg tin can label to raise awareness among its consumers of the environmental initiatives by Nestlé, in areas such as waste minimisation.

"The industry's commitment in reducing packaging waste and raising awareness among consumers is vital, as caring for the environment requires the collective effort of government, industry and individuals. I extend my heartiest congratulations to this year's 3R Packaging Awards winners and invite more companies to come on board to see how cutting packaging waste also makes good business sense," said NEA's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ronnie Tay.

To date, a total of 149 signatories have joined the second SPA. Companies who are keen to find out more and/or join the Singapore Packaging Agreement can visit www.nea.gov.sg/SPA.

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