As the global race to develop sustainable solutions intensifies to advance a circular economy, Singapore faces an enviable opportunity to take a leadership role.
As our team has found over 300 investment opportunities and invested more than $ 40 million in solutions to tackle plastic waste and advance the circular economy, we believe Singapore has the ideal conditions to catalyze a reconfiguration of businesses. global supply chains and become a hub of resilience for manufacturing.
This is great news for Singapore as we seek new engines to stimulate economic growth; this is also excellent news for the circular economy.
Through these actions, Singapore has the building blocks on which it can build an advanced recycling infrastructure because:
Singapore has already laid the groundwork by putting in place several critical factors: government and private sector commitments, an enabling policy environment, a strong collection system, and an ecosystem of trust, to name a few.
● Individual solutions are now reinforced as part of the improvement of the whole system;
● Waste management operators are moving from slow growth models to entrepreneurial mindsets, supported by ambitious plans to make Singapore an anchor for digital innovation; and
● An institutional policy framework can be used to demonstrate the role of circular plastics in creating healthy cities.
Three investment interventions that can fuel future economic growth
There are three specific areas of targeted investment that could have disproportionate impacts on the development of new technological solutions that could add additional drivers to Singapore’s economy while also having significant impacts on improving recycling.
With relatively small amounts of investment, Singapore could catalyze $ 180 million in annual trade value.
Investment intervention 1: Collection and sorting and reinforcement of infrastructures
Small investments to improve sorting technology and increase the quality of collected recyclables will add an additional 114,800 tonnes of recycling raw materials to Singapore’s value chain. Such projects typically require $ 5 to $ 15 million in capital, can create dozens of jobs, and improve the profitability of hundreds of other players in the supply chain; it is an incredible reward.
Singapore’s recyclers are proactive and enterprising, having developed the existing recycling landscape, providing a solid foundation for growth. There are several quick wins that recyclers and local businesses can seek out that will complement future policy interventions on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Return Deposit System (DRS), as well as Singapore’s Green Plan. 2030:
- Implement plastic waste recycling targets for local operations. Companies can train their staff to identify plastics that can be recycled (for example, unused hangers from retail clothing stores).
- Monitor the production of plastic waste and end-of-use treatment of plastic waste. Better data is essential to reveal the opportunities and challenges. Businesses can work with their recyclers to provide detailed breakdown and feedback on recycling rates for their plastic waste to provide visibility into the impacts of proactive recycling measures (eg, better material segregation).
- Develop partnerships between recyclers and companies. Recyclers can create more value by moving from a commodity management solution to a service for closed loop plastic waste streams.
Investment intervention 2: Deploy upcycling technology
Not all plastics can be easily recycled today, and after improving the fundamentals of collection and sorting, Singapore can lead the deployment of new technologies that would strengthen the local collection market. This requires investments in advanced recycling technologies and niche companies for plastics that do not have strong markets. Advanced recycling technologies are expected to complement mechanical recycling solutions and be suitable for local markets. There are currently several pilot projects underway in Singapore which can provide detailed information on technical suitability.
For example, one of those projects we looked at requires about a capital investment of $ 35 million and would allow the processing of 10,000 tonnes per year of contaminated plastic waste that could be used to create new circular or high plastic markets. range such as BioStimulants.
Investment intervention 3: Breakthrough innovation
In recent years, Singapore has become a hub for exciting “Food Tech” businesses. Given its unique position in the global supply chain, so could circular plastics. For example, some groups have proposed locally the creation of a zero plastic waste demonstrator to become a powerful innovator, radically changing the use of plastic while promoting decarbonization technology.
By investing in new collection and sorting capacities that can take advantage of its particularly strong consumer position, Singapore could become a hub for trade in goods, services and circular economy systems.
Singapore is able to become the region’s premier location to test and deploy circular solutions across the value chain, from scaling new materials to reusing business models, in a learning environment. real.
Investment and behavior change go hand in hand
It is important to recognize that we cannot just invest to get out of this challenge. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts recently published research that reveals that we can only achieve system change by combining behavioral interventions to reduce overall consumption while maintaining the products and materials in use. These combined interventions create the economic conditions that amplify circular results.
By combining Singapore’s infrastructure and innovation investments with improved behavioral practices, Singapore can meet its waste landfill targets in the 2026 and 2030 Green Plans. And in the process, Singapore can become a model for investing. successfully in recycling infrastructure to fuel new industries, new jobs and economic growth and lead the way in solving the global plastic crisis.