Singapore’s Semakau Landfill May Lose Space For Waste By 2035

Recycling
Bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic are transported on a conveyor at Poly Recycling AG company in Bilten, Switzerland April 3, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Singapore is one of the most admired countries for its efforts in going green, but its Semakau landfill may be running out of space for the city-state's increasing waste, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, said.

During a screening for Closing The Loop, a documentary highlighting the importance of the circular economy, Masagos said Singapore's waste disposal figures saw a significant hike over the last four decades. Numbers jumped by seven times, the Straits Times reported.

To help address the issue, Masagos has called for transitioning to a circular economy. "Our vision is to turn our trash into treasure and reuse and recycle our resources for as long as possible," he stressed. He cited composting as an example of a circular method that families can practice helping this cause.

Masagos said a large number of people supporting the call for converting food waste into fertilizers could help reduce "the number of rubbish trucks needed to transport our rubbish to the incinerator. He added that this circular economy strategy would also help reduce carbon emissions.

As part of the initiative to raise awareness on circular economy practices, Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources designated 2019 as the city-state's Year Towards Zero Waste. Analysts are expecting to see more programs aimed at helping Singaporeans find ways to recycle and reuse resources.

Earlier this month, Phase 2 of Singapore's behemoth underground sewerage superhighway kicked off. Called the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), the project aims to recycle and transform used water into Newater, the Straits Times reported.

Phase 2 of the DTSS project is expected to cost $6.5 billion. While it will cost Singapore a lot, it is expected to help achieve the city-state's scheme of sustainable water systems. The government aims to recycle every drop of used water in the region continuously.

Aside from water, plastic, and food waste, Singapore has also been stepping up efforts in recycling electronic scraps. According to Recycling International, Nanyang Technological University launched a $20 million research center earlier this month dedicated to discovering proper methods of recycling e-waste.

The center will focus on attempts to extract reusable metals from lithium-ion batteries. The research facility will make use of a specialized battery shredder within an oxygen-free environment, and later, the crushed material will be dissolved.

Finally, Singapore's e-scrap center will also be tasked to recycle silicon from solar panels as well as reduce costs for recycling printed circuit boards. The ultimate goal is to find ways to promote a circular economy that integrates environmentally friendly processes.

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