Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu officially announced the establishment of the Plastics Recycling Association of Singapore (PRAS) on August 17, as reported by CNA on the same day. PRAS will focus on increasing the country’s ability to recycle plastics and sharing knowledge about waste recycling and management. Fu highlighted three aspects for PRAS, including improving national capabilities for plastics waste, exploring new recycling solutions, and bringing opportunities to develop a circular economy. As for improving capabilities, Fu mentioned recycling beverage containers, launching a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling facility, and other ways. The goal is to raise the national plastic recycling proportion from 4% to 30% in recent years and to 70% in the next five to ten years.
Plastics have been bothering Singapore for a long time. Plastics waste generated in the country amounted to 868,000 tons in 2020, becoming the main waste in the country. To cut plastic use, the Singapore government just agreed to charge a single-bag fee in all supermarkets this April. However, the government has not decided on details for implementation such as the specific price of the bags and the beginning time. Prior to Singapore, other Asian countries have banned free plastic bags for years, such as China for 13 years since 2008. Japan and Malaysia also started such a ban in 2020 and 2021 separately.
Asian countries are dedicated to getting rid of white pollution in several ways in recent years. Malaysia, the world’s biggest plastics waste importer, released Malaysia’s Roadmap towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018–2030 in 2018. The plan ruled that users of single-use plastics would face extra charges and plastic straws were banned nationwide by 2020. However, as of this March, Malaysia has not carried out the 2020 prohibition yet. As one of the world’s largest plastic users, China had launched a plan to reduce single-use plastics around the country in January 2020. Non-degradable bags in major cities and single-use plastic straws were forbidden to use by the end of 2020, while by 2022, all Chinese cities and towns would not use non-degradable bags. Chinese retailers are using degradable plastics or paper bags and straws to get in line with the policy.