How To Make Money Recycling In Singapore
Waste management is a critical issue for every country worldwide as people churn out millions of tons of waste yearly. In remedy, various programs are in place to ensure that the world does not become bloated with plastic and electronics. Countries like Singapore have trash to cash programs as an incentive to keep the environment clean.
Singaporeans generate a lot of waste yearly. In 2016 alone, there were 7.81 million tons of waste generated. Two years later, in 2018, the total waste generated was 7.70 million tons, just 9,000 tons short of the 2017 amount. According to the National Environment Authority, the significant drop in the waste generated resulted from efforts to reduce the usage of products that turn to waste.
Authorities in Singapore, alongside non-profits, have in place elaborate mechanisms that encourage Singaporeans to recycle waste. Of the 7.81 million tons of waste generated in 2016, 61% of it was recycled. However, the amount of recycled waste fell to 60% in 2018, according to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
Usually, Singapore incinerates most of its non-recyclable waste. The resulting ash is dumped on Semakau Island. However, a Reuters report noted that the dumpsite on the manmade island is filling up fast while “the use of disposable products [is] growing at a rapid rate.” Notably, plastics make up the largest portion of the non-recyclable waste that Singaporeans generate. Since not all the millions of tons of plastic waste can be incinerated, there are alternative efforts focused on preventing the plastics from ending up on the country’s streets.
Can one make money recycling in Singapore?
Since incineration does not look like the final solution to the problem of waste, especially plastic, there are other efforts aimed at recycling the trash. For instance, the National Environment Agency started the National Recycling Program (NRP) in 2001 to facilitate recycling efforts. In the NRP, the NEA provides dedicated bins where individuals dump recyclable waste for retrieval and probable reuse. Nevertheless, this too is not enough.
As such, some organizations have entered the recycling frenzy, but this time with an incentive. Various trash to cash programs seeks to encourage Singaporeans to be more responsible for the cleanliness of their environment. Interestingly, these programs hope to encourage those who might have felt unmoved enough to dump their trash at the right place.
Notably, F&N Foods collaborated with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to initiate the Recycle N Save program. The program intends to install Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) across the country by Q1 2020. Particularly, the initiative encourages Singaporeans to deposit aluminum drink cans and plastic drink bottles in the RVMs. In return, the recyclers earn coupons that are redeemable at FairPrice outlets. Usually, four containers deposited in the RVMs earns you SGD 0.20 worth of coupon.
Other initiatives reward individuals cash for trash. Notably, SembCorp came up with Ezi Recycling App to facilitate recycling efforts. The app enables people to summon recycling service to one’s doorstep. Particularly, the initiative focuses on the recycling of paper, metal, and clothing. Sure, you do not have to do any heavy lifting. All you need is the pile of trash and the app. In a matter of minutes, the trash will be gone, and you have cash in return. For example, 10 kg of clothing will earn you $2, free money!
Venues for trash to cash initiatives
Unfortunately, not all recycling initiatives come to your doorstep like SembCorp’s. For instance, RVMs are placed at different locations across the country. As such, you have to get out of the house and ferry the trash to these locations. Alternatively, other collection points accept trash in exchange for cash. These collection points offer better rates per kilogram of trash, perhaps to compensate for the commute you have to make. For example, a kilogram of aluminum drink cans earns you SGD 0.50.
There are numerous venues where you can take your trash for depositing in return for cash. At each point of collection, there is a waste collector licensed by the NEA. There is a map of the venues for trash collection, which should be quite helpful to you. Interestingly, most of the locations are on the eastern and western side of the country. The Northern side of the country has only three cash-for-trash venues, one at Woodlands Avenue 4 and two others at Woodlands Circle. The following are some of the cash-for-trash locations in the country.
Jurong West Street 91 – this is one of the many collection points that populate the western part of the country. The venue accepts all types of recyclables in exchange for cash. However, it is only open on Sunday from 7:30 AM to 1 PM.
Clarence Lane – this venue is located in the southern part of the country. The exact location for collection is the Delta RC building. The location is open on the second Sunday of the month from 9 AM to 1 PM.
Tampines Town Council – this venue is one of the many locations on the eastern side of the country. Located on Tampines Street 32, this venue is open every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM.
Procedures for trash to cash
Each initiative has its own procedure for waste collection. For instance, the RVMs accept any amount of plastic bottles and aluminum drink cans, after which the individuals receive their token. At the cash-for-trash venues, nothing much goes on except weighing of the trash and giving money in exchange. However, there are items like electronics whose value is not predetermined like plastic bottles. In this case, the items will be valued on the spot, and after acceptance, you will receive your token.
All of the recycling initiatives aim to keep Singapore’s streets clean. Particularly, increased efforts will push the amount of waste recycled against the total waste produced to almost 90% from the current 60%. However, the future of recycling in the country will be determined by the sense of responsibility of Singaporeans.