SembWaste, a wholly-owned subsidiary under Sembcorp Industries launched a joint initiative with Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Rebottle, which aims to boost PET bottle recycling rates in Singapore, starting with Punggol Shore precinct. Rebottle was unveiled at an event witnessed by Grassroots Adviser to Pasir Ris-Punggol Grassroots Organisation, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, where a three-month pilot for this initiative will be deployed at 10 selected HDB blocks within the Punggol Coral estate, as well as Prime and Ang Mo supermarkets in Punggol Shore.
Rebottle is a smart recycling initiative that uses refurbished roller cages incorporating IoT solutions to provide real-time waste collection data. This data will enable SembWaste to monitor the number of bottles disposed off in the cages and optimise collections when the cages are full.
SembWaste’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Lee Kok Kin said, “Our waste, if sorted, can be recycled as a valuable resource. The roller cages at void decks and supermarkets make it convenient for Singaporeans to deposit and recycle plastic bottles. With Rebottle, we hope to encourage better recycling rates in Singapore, which also reduces the country’s landfill disposal.”
Before the launch, SembWaste completed a waste profiling exercise to study the composition of materials placed in the blue recycling bins at Punggol Coral. Statistics from the study showed that only 1% of the materials were recyclable PET bottles and about 52% were eliminated for recycling either due to contamination or rejected items that are 2 not recyclable. SembWaste will be working closely with the Punggol Shore constituency to triple their overall PET collection rates while lowering the estate’s waste contamination rate by at least 10%, hence effectively improving recycling rates.
Rebottle was jointly developed with students from SP’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering as well as Media, Arts and Design schools. The students tapped on insights from interviews with residents and their skillsets to support their design and deployment of the smart receptacles. For instance, by identifying the common areas with the highest footfall such as void decks and lift lobbies, the smart receptacles could be placed at accessible and convenient locations for the deposit of used PET bottles.
Acting Director of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Singapore Polytechnic, Dr Lim Joo Ghee said, “In land-scarce Singapore, there is a pressing need to conserve our limited landfill space, which is set to run out by 20351. Through Rebottle, our students learnt how to ideate, design, and implement innovative sustainability solutions for real-life issues. SP is dedicated to working with SembWaste to encourage residents to cultivate a habit of recycling, by making it easier and more accessible. We hope that by bringing these smart recycling receptacles to the heartlands, more people will be motivated to make a difference.”
SembWaste will also be partnering with Sheng Siong to roll out Rebottle at their 301 Punggol Central outlet. This partnership aims to lower the carbon footprint by leveraging the partner’s existing resources and centralised collection point to consolidate the materials. In the longer term, results from the Rebottle pilot will be used by SembWaste and the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to jointly determine the most cost-effective and lowest carbon-footprint methods to harvest clean stream recyclables.
“By focusing on the correct methods for recycling PET bottles, Rebottle presents a unique opportunity to both reduce waste and raise awareness of proper recycling practices. On a broader scale, this collaboration between SEC and Sembcorp, engaging large groups in the community, is yet another step towards achieving one of our nation’s 2030 Green Plan targets: to reduce waste sent to landfills by 30%,” said Ms Jen Teo, Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council.
Through the Rebottle initiative, residents from the 10 selected blocks in Punggol Coral can take part in a block recycling competition when they recycle PET bottles through smart receptacles. Participating households from the winning block will receive a S$10 reward voucher at the end of the pilot.
Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Grassroots Adviser to Pasir Ris – Punggol Grassroots Organisations shared “We are glad to have mobilized both community partners and our residents to support this pilot initiative. Recycling is a topic close to the hearts of our Punggol Shore Community as we continue our efforts of sustainability towards achieving Punggol in Bloom – a livable neighbourhood that our Punggol Shore residents would be happy and proud to call home. Through this pilot, I hope that more neighbourhoods too can replicate these efforts for it is only when we come together as one that we can rally behind our Punggol Shore residents to build a vibrant community featuring beautiful common spaces, meaningful activities and lively events that brings all of us closer and more united through shared experiences.”