Unpacking Packing Waste
Updated: Jan 30
Issue: Packaging Waste
Vertical: Circular Economy
Information provided by: Cheryl Seow
Packaging: Made of any material used to contain, protect, handle, deliver or present goods.
Makes up 1/3 of all domestic waste
Of which 55% are Plastic, 25% paper, 20% others like metal & glass
According to Singapore Environmental Council, 820 million plastic bags, 467 million PET bottles, 473 mil. plastic disposables used in 2018.
There are many types of packaging and layers that range from primary, service, secondary, and tertiary packaging.
Sheer volume of domestic waste
Low recycling rates
4 building blocks of Circular Economy:
Circular Economy Design: Build core competencies in circular design that enable reuse, recycling & cascading
New Business Models: innovative new business models that either replace existing ones or seize new opportunities
Reverse Cycles: Additional Skills require to ensure circularity of system
Enablers & Favourable System Conditions: Market mechanisms dominate, with support from policy makers, educational institutions & thought leaders
Players making an impact:
Singapore Packaging Agreement
Joint Initiative between the Government, Industry & NGOs aimed at reducing packaging waste – modeled after New Zealand’s Packaging Accord & Australia’s National Packaging Covenant.
Mandatory Packaging Reporting Framework (MPRF)
Increase transparency & accountability of companies regarding packaging use. Collect data to assess plausibility of implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Framework by 2025
TRIA – Packaging Manufacturer
Created a closed-loop solution for single-use food packaging: A line of Bio24 packaging made from NEUTRIA®* that can be decomposed within 24 hours once placed in the Bio24 digestor.
PACT – Plastic ACTion by WWF Singapore
Provides businesses with life cycle assessments, aggregated data and best practices, enabling them to make science-based decisions to reduce their plastic footprint.
CBPAK – Brazil
Created compostable packaging product made from non-edible starch components found in cassava plants
BIOPAK – Compostable Packaging Producer Overview
Operates internally-managed composting services – Biopak Compost Club – offering composting services for its customers & businesses to encourage extended user responsibility
REPACK – Ecommerce Packaging Waste
Utilises durable & reusable packages made of recycled polypropylene that can last at least 20 cycles.
Retailers may possess a ‘Reactionary’ Mindset:
Lacks urgency, largely a response to consumer flak
Community Census & Attitudes
Unwilling to forgo convenience for sustainability
Design of Current Waste Management System (eg reliant on Incineration, Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Systems) may impede circular system: Limited infrastructural support for alternative processes like composting and breaks circular loop
Preview of the deck!
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The landscape study is done using information available in the public domain, and represents our best effort at trying to understand the landscape, for the purposes of education and for public literacy.
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