Waste Management Symposium 2013 in Singapore
By Jovin Hurry
Jointly organised by the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore, the National Environment Agency, the International Solid Waste Association and supported by the Workforce Development Agency, the Waste Management Symposium 2013 held on 2 July at Max Atria, Singapore Expo, gathered around 300 delegates to share insights into the opportunities and trends for waste management and recycling in key Asian markets.
The Symposium highlighted that although there remains much to be done, irrespective of the levels of the waste management system in each country, Asia is aiming for the low hanging fruits and the small steps taken are in the right direction.
Opening the Symposium, the Guest of Honour, Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said there is a big gap in Singapore’s current productivity in waste management. He added that, “…one-third of the waste we discard at home is estimated to be packaging waste and each person discards about 100 kilogrammes of packaging waste in a year.”
Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore Chairman, Jerome Baco, echoed the same remarks in his welcome address, noting that Singapore’s industry employs 12,000 workers but processes only 1.6 tons of waste per worker per day.
On the bright side, the good steps taken include 128 companies and groups that have signed the Singapore Packaging Agreement, cutting their packaging waste by 14,900 tons so far since 2007. The 3R Packaging Awards were presented by Dr Balakrishnan to 16 companies for their outstanding efforts in reducing packaging waste.
Some Gold Award winners include Wyeth Nutritionals (Singapore) Pte Ltd which reduced their new tin by 10mm; Winrigo (S) Pte Ltd which reduced their virgin plastic material usage by 0.58 ton annually; and Sunfresh Singapore Pte Ltd that decreased the proportion of corrugated cardboard boxes used from 20% to 3%.
The morning session on market perspectives focused on global and regional opportunities for the waste management industry. It was meant for the experts to strengthen their networks with key partners for international collaboration to tap into Asia’s solid waste management potential.
Mr. David Newman, President of the International Solid Waste Association shared about the global perspectives in waste management. Mr. Darrell Farley, Country Director of Singapore EnviroSolutions & Consulting talked about the waste management challenges in South-East Asia. Following them were presentations on markets and areas of development in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The afternoon session explored the latest technologies in the areas of waste sorting, recycling and waste-to-energy as part of a comprehensive and integrated approach to waste management and to improve productivity.
Ms. Bettina Kamuk, Chair of Working Group Energy Recovery of the International Solid Waste Association shared about the emerging technologies for maximising energy recovery from waste, exemplifying it with the famous plant in Copenhagen and how the Danes not only accepted but also embraced the stylish plant in their backyard.
The Symposium ended with the session on alternative ways to look at electronic waste management in our high tech information and communication age by Mr. Patrick Wiedemann, CEO of Reverse Logistics Group.