PLASTICS – A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM
Single-use plastic disposables pose a serious environmental problem around the world. Plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels, and we use this limited million-year old resource to produce single-use disposables that we use and throw away after a few minutes. That’s a waste of our non-renewable resources!
When plastic disposables are burned, the carbon dioxide produced contributes to climate change while toxic pollutants affects our health. These disposables end up in landfills and take thousands of years to be broken down.
Plastic disposables often end up in the waterways and sea as marine litter, and these non-biodegradable plastics pose harm or cause death to marine lives and birds through ingestion. These can also break down into small fragments or microplastics, and end up in our food chain, ultimately affecting our health.
THE PLASTICS PROBLEM IN SINGAPORE
The most common type of waste disposed at incineration plants in Singapore is plastic (followed by food waste and paper). An estimated 30-70% of plastic waste disposed in Singapore are single-use plastic disposables, such as plastic takeaway containers, cups, utensils, cutlery, bags and bottles.
Recycling Plastic Waste
From 2003 to 2016, the amount of plastic waste generated (disposed plus recycled) increased by 42% but the recycling rate remained low between 7-13%. The amount of plastics recycled in Singapore has stagnated for the past 13 years.
During the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore from Aug to Oct 2014, volunteers combed the beaches and mangroves around Singapore, and collected a total of 14,580 kg of marine litter, including:
- 19,034 plastic beverage bottles
- 8,862 cups and plates (plastic and foam)
- 7,129 takeout containers (plastic and foam)
- 4,677 plastic grocery bags