27 April 2023
On 22 March 2023, the Resource Sustainability (Amendment) Bill (“Bill”) was passed in Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Resource Sustainability Act 2019 to reduce packaging and food waste and drive behavioural changes across Singapore to reduce waste and increase recycling through the following three measures:
- Disposable carrier bag charge: The disposable carrier bag charge will apply to disposable carrier bags of all material types and will come into effect in mid-2023. Larger supermarket operators with an annual turnover of more than S$100 million will be required to charge a minimum of five cents for each disposable carrier bag provided to shoppers at their physical stores. Such supermarket operators will be required to publish information on the number of bags issued, amount of proceeds received from the bag charge, and how the proceeds are used including the support of charitable or environmental causes. The National Environment Agency (“NEA”) encourages supermarket operators with an annual turnover of less than S$100 million to voluntarily implement their own bag charges.
- Beverage container return scheme: The beverage container return scheme (“Scheme”) applies a small deposit when consumers purchase certain pre-packaged drinks. Consumers can claim a full refund of the deposit by returning their empty beverage containers at designated return points. This Scheme will contribute to Singapore’s zero waste efforts by aggregating clean and high-quality recyclables, thereby supporting the development of the recycling industry.
NEA had, on 21 March 2023, issued a press release about the Scheme. Under the Scheme, all pre-packaged beverages in plastic bottles and metal cans ranging from 150 millilitres to 3 litres will have a refundable deposit of 10 cents. This deposit will be fully refunded when empty beverage containers are returned at designated return points. NEA states that the Scheme will commence on 1 April 2025, with a transitionary period between 1 April 2025 and 30 June 2025 for the beverage and retail industry to clear older unlabelled stocks, which will not carry deposits or be eligible for deposit refunds. When the Scheme is fully implemented on 1 July 2025, all beverage containers covered under the Scheme must be labelled and have deposits when supplied in Singapore. Larger supermarket outlets with floor areas of more than 200m2 will be required to set up return points.
- Food waste reporting framework: The food waste reporting framework will require the segregation and treatment of food waste generated in prescribed buildings and the reporting on the treatment of such food waste.