Singapore postpones packaging reduction deadline for companies in light of Covid-19 disruption

Fraunhofer LBF

In light of Covid-19 pandemic disruptions, the Singapore government has given companies another year before they must submit plans for reducing the amount of packaging they use.

In an email from the National Environment Agency (NEA), seen by Eco-Business, companies were told on Tuesday that the deadline for mandatory reporting of their packaging data has been moved back a year. Instead of submitting data for this calendar year, they now need to submit next year’s data. The deadline for submitting plans for packaging reduction, reuse and recycling has also been postponed by a year, to 31 March 2022.

The mandatory reporting framework sets a baseline for a future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which makes companies responsible for the take-back, recycling and disposal of packaging, which makes up about a-third of household waste in Singapore.

EPR schemes exist in other developed countries such as Sweden, where the concept was born in 1990, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, and are believed to be critical for building a circular economy, a system where waste is eliminated and resources are continually reused.

Recycling rates have increased in every country where EPR policies have been introduced, and Singapore’s recycling rate is low for a developed country—just 4 per cent of the city-state’s plastic waste was recycled last year, the rest was burned in waste-to-energy plants.

Singapore’s EPR regulations are expected to be in place for both packaging and electronic waste by 2025, and the revised packaging reporting timelines will not affect their timing, NEA told Eco-Business.

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