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How has COVID-19 affected recycling industry in Singapore

2020 has been a year many are ready to leave behind, but there are so much that we can all learn from this crisis. In recent news coverage by CNA, it was reported that businesses are throwing out 26% less waste than before the circuit breaker and therefore fewer recyclables can be salvaged. The waste management sector, especially recyclers, although deemed essential service, finds themselves struggling with lower supply and lower demand. Let us take a look at the various factors affecting the waste and recycling industry. Full news coverage can be viewed at the link below.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/recycling-companies-in-singapore-face-challenges-amid-covid-19-13307298

Lowered supply of recyclables

As Singapore does its best to fight the pandemic with the circuit breaker measures, businesses in Singapore come to a halt except for a select group of essential services. Waste generation decreases in tandem with reduced business activities. When factories are not producing as much, less packaging is used, less consumption by the people required to support the production and therefore significantly less trash and recyclables are generated. For instance, when it was announced that the bubble tea shops are not allowed to be opened, it creates a domino effect in the supply chain. There will no need for cartons of cups to be delivered to the shops, hence no related carton waste when the shops unbox them. The cup manufacturer will not need to import materials that are probably packed in carton boxes to make the cups. Thus carton waste at every stage of this supply chain will be decreased. 

In fact, before this pandemic, both Singapore’s recycling rate and waste generation amount has dropped in 2019. This means Singaporeans are generating less waste hopefully due to more sustainable practices but contradicting statistics of lowered recycling rates suggest otherwise.  

Lowered demand for recyclables

Waste paper recycle

Pile of waste paper for recycling

Covid-19 is a global crisis and it literally brings the world to a standstill. The recycling industry is a global value chain as materials are moving across countries to be made into new products again. On top of the mess caused by China banning the import of recyclables which reshuffled the global recyclable market, this pandemic has affected many recycling mills drastically. All these factors have caused overall demands to drop. 

The bright side

We have all seen articles about the environment taking a breather from less human activity. This sparks a conversation and interest around how can businesses resume activity with a greater emphasis on environmental impacts. Recently, we have seen more companies reaching out to enquire on ways to improve their recycling rates and move closer towards zero waste. 

Tay Paper Recycling is a waste management company specializing in waste paper with decades of experience to help clients achieve their sustainability goals. We have a full range of services to offer:

  1. Efficient recyclables and waste removal
  2. Provision of recycling data
  3. Secured disposal of confidential waste
  4. Waste audit and consultancy
  5. Workshops and talks

Ultimately, we all want to have a better world for our next generation and Tay Paper Recycling is here to help companies achieve that. Reach out to us and we can have a chat about how we can create a better environment at your business.   

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