More vending machines that accept plastic and aluminium drink containers and then dispense discount vouchers have been rolled out at locations islandwide over the past two days. The 34 new "reverse" vending machines, which add to the existing network of 16, have been set up at malls such as IMM and Bedok Mall and complexes including the Toa Payoh and Jalan Besar Sports Centres.
People who deposit receptacles can now choose from a wider range of rewards, such as free rides with bike-sharing firm Anywheel, vouchers that can be used at CapitaLand malls, ActiveSG credit and Sentosa Fun Pass tokens. Depositing 10 drink containers into the machine gets a 50-cent ActiveSG credit, for example. Existing machines dispense a 20-cent FairPrice discount voucher for every 20 containers deposited. Users can also choose not to receive any rewards when they recycle bottles and cans at the new machines, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and drinks manufacturer Fraser & Neave (F&N) yesterday.
A Singapore Environment Council study in 2018 found that Singapore uses about 467 million PET bottles each year. The NEA noted that since the launch of the "reverse" vending machines last October, more than 2.4 million plastic bottles and aluminium cans have been collected. The deposit refund scheme is part of a programme that makes manufacturers of products responsible for the end-of-life collection and treatment of the items. It targets the management of electronic and packaging waste.
Packaging waste, including plastics, is one of the priority waste streams that Singapore is looking to tackle due to its high generation and low recycling rate. Last year, people here threw out 930,000 tonnes of plastic, of which only 37,000 tonnes - or 4 per cent - were recycled. There are plans to reduce the amount of waste per capita by 30 per cent by 2030 to extend the lifespan of the Semakau Landfill, the only one here.
Current rates of waste disposal indicate that the landfill could be full by 2035, a decade ahead of the initially projected 2045. The NEA said it hopes to build on the growing momentum towards recycling to make it more convenient for the public.