28 October 2022
On 7 October 2022, the National Environment Agency (“NEA”) announced the launch of new Technical Reference 109 on Sustainable Packaging Guiding Framework and Practices (“TR 109”).
TR 109 provides a guiding framework for companies to adopt more sustainable packaging-related practices such as reduction, collection for re-use and/or recycling, use of recycled content in packaging material and improved recyclability of packaging in line with the objective of the Mandatory Packaging Reporting (“MPR”) scheme requirements. TR 109 specifies guidelines, criteria, and best practices in implementing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for business-to-business and business-to-consumer packaging, taking into consideration practices that are sustainable in Singapore’s context. It covers the life cycle of packaging, starting upstream from packaging design to end-of-life management and is applicable across industries.
By helping companies understand how they can develop 3R plans for packaging waste, TR 109 serves as a useful reference for companies when submitting such plans as required under the MPR scheme. Introduced by NEA in 2021 under the Resource Sustainability Act 2019, the MPR scheme requires producers of packaged products and retailers to report annually the amount of packaging they introduce into Singapore, as well as their plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging in Singapore.
It is explained in the NEA press release that packaging waste is a priority waste stream because it is generated in large quantities but recycled inadequately. In 2021, out of the 1.58 million tonnes of domestic waste disposed of, about one-third was packaging waste. Under the Zero Waste Masterplan and the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Singapore aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill per capita per day by 20% by 2026 and 30% by 2030. Singapore also aims to increase the national recycling rate to 70% by 2030.