• Jarratt Ong

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:

  1. Circular Economy Design: Build core competencies in circular design that enable reuse, recycling & cascading

  2. New Business Models: innovative new business models that either replace existing ones or seize new opportunities

  3. Reverse Cycles: Additional Skills require to ensure circularity of system

  4. 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.

Potential Obstacles:


  • Retailers may possess a ‘Reactionary’ Mindset:

  • Lacks urgency, largely a response to consumer flak


  • Community Census & Attitudes

  • Unwilling to forgo convenience for sustainability

Waste Management

  • 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!

Need more? Click here to view the deck and find out more about what impact players can do to help tackle the issue of packaging waste!

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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.

Should there be any inaccuracies in the information presented in this landscape, feel free to email us at hello@interseed.co and we will be happy to address them.

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