The road towards embracing plastics circularity

Amidst incentivising consumers to play their part and implementing recycling infrastructure, Anil K Sharma, senior vice-president and general manager of label and graphic materials in Asia-Pacific at Avery Dennison, sheds light on how packaging materials can promote greater plastics circularity.

Tackling the issue of packaging waste has always been an ambitious goal, but finding a definitive solution remains a complex task. The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, which recently concluded its second round of discussions last month and could potentially come into force by 2025, holds great promise in providing a universal framework to combat the threat of plastic pollution. However, it remains important to understand that addressing packaging waste goes beyond a simple fix; this calls for a comprehensive approach that incorporates diverse strategies from the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle), to switching to more sustainable packaging materials, and implementing extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies. Ultimately, collaboration among all stakeholders involved is necessary.

Although Singapore’s plastic recycling rate remained constant at 6% last year, the amount of plastic waste generated rose from 982 tonnes in 2021 to 1,001 tonnes in 2022. This is concerning as we have less than a decade to meet our target of reducing the daily amount of waste that is sent to landfill by 30% by 2030. However, we are encouraged by several developments on this front such as the most recent plastic bag tax and the Bloobox initiative and as well as the upcoming Deposit Refund Scheme that will be rolled out in 2025. What are some of the key areas that Singapore should focus on to accelerate its ambitions of becoming a zero-waste nation?

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