Zerowaste is possible!

A chronicle of waste minimisation and recycling in NUS

Author: ohitsme

PGP walkabout

A combined survey was done by PGP housing service, SAVE and OES on 14th January 2010 to inspect the various recycling bins that have been placed in Prince George’s Park Residences.

Some of the important observations have been summarised below:

1. At a number of bin points, the trash bins were not present alongwith the recycling bins. This increases the probability of contamination in recycling bins as the users do not have the trash bin to thrown the non-recyclable items.

Residence 6 bin point

Residence 6 bin point

The R6 bin point had all three types of recycling bins however the trash bin was not present.

Residence 1 bin point

Residence 1 bin point

The R1 recycling bins were put together but the trash bin was at some distance.
GSA bin point

GSA bin point

The GSA bin point had the two recycling bins only.

Air-con canteen

Air-con canteen

Air-con canteen

The recycling bins were placed at different places in the air-con canteen and the trash bins were not placed with them.

2. Some bins were not properly labelled.

Residence 5 paper bin

Residence 5 paper bin

Residence 6 paper bin

Residence 6 paper bin

After the visit, two slits were opened on the upper cover to facilitate the easy drop of paper into the bin.


1. Make sure that the trash bins are provided with the recycling bins.

2. Slits can be made in all the existing and future larger blue bins.

3. All the lounges in PGP should have the yellow can recycling bins as per the suggestions of PGP officials and RA.

By March 6th 2010
recycling bins and trash bins are already placed together . Slits have also been made in the blue paper recycling bins.

– The only tasks outstanding are the new bins from OES as well as all labelling work by SAVE

Recycling Collection Centres Walkabout

This is a walkabout to identify the current problems/issues of the recycling collection centres. It was done by OES intern Shriyanka
This is to serve as a resource to continue to check and update the work of the housekeeping stuff.

21 Heng Mui Keng

21 HENG MUI KENG: There are 4 green bulk bins out of which 2 are supposed to be 2 general waste bins and 1 bin each for paper and carton. The signage for paper and carton are not clearly seen hence that might cause the under-utilisation of the paper/carton bins.

Tasks: Replace with proper blue bulk bins and remind housekeeping staff again.





BUSINESS CANTEEN (CARPARK 11): There is an extra organic waste bin and the paper bin has been placed such that it is inaccessible for maximum usage.

Identify if the Organic waste bulk bin is in use?
Is there a need for the paper bulk bin that is currently being hidden? Seems that only carton is collected and paper is still not being collected by the housekeepers. A possibility that paper meant for recycling are not being collected from the recycling points.




ARTS CANTEEN: The general waste bin is not seen here. One of the green bulk bins is being used as a cardboard recycling bin.

Tasks: Replace with proper blue bulk bins for paper/carton recycling bulk bins




CENTRAL LIBRARY: Neatly arranged. Proper signages present on the bulk bins for paper and cardboard bin however, paper and cardboard have been found to be mixed in the bulk bins.

Tasks: Similar, replace with proper blue bulk bins.





ENGINEERING CANTEEN: No excess carton/paper placed around the bins. However, no paper recycling bins were found. Only 3 carton recycling bulk bins were placed.

Tasks: NO PAPER recycling bulk bin!! Add paper recycling bulk bin and replace carton with proper blue bulk bin as well



EW1 Workshop: 4 green bulk bins are being used for the purpose of paper and cardboard collection and there is scope for mingling of both.

Tasks: We should actually consider different shades for blue for carton and paper? Not a pertinent issue but still good to solve



KENT RIDGE HALL: Only the general waste bins were found. Smaller paper recycling bins(capacity = 330 litres) are placed in different parts of the hall. However, the yellow bin was missing.

Tasks: Where is the yellow bulk bin?!




MD11: The photographs clearly show the contamination of different forms of recyclables. The yellow bin is containing paper waste and so does the general waste bin. It has been noticed that this area has a large amount of paper/carton waste and the number of recycling bins may be inadequate.

Tasks: Need more blue bulk bins!!!


PRINCE GEORGE’S PARK RESIDENCES: Inadequate provision for carton recycling bins is apparent. Therefore, cartons have been dumped into paper and aluminium/plastic recycling bins.

Tasks: Again, more blue bulk bin? There was one green bulk bin previously for carton actually.





S4A: Excess general waste has been noticed however not much paper/carton separation is noticed. There were carton recycling bin and the yellow bin for aluminium cans and plastic bottles. However, there was no paper recycling bin.

Tasks: No PAPER recycling bulk bin again. Properly removed to go to Dentistry block. Wasted efforts in previous labelling.

Again, may suggest that paper recycling is not done. Only carton recycling.





SCIENCE CANTEEN: No contamination in organic waste bins is noticed. However, the paper and carton items are found in all other recycling bins, including the yellow bins.  Another observation shows that boxes of all materials are being confused with carton and are dumped into the recycling bins. The last pic shows a plastic box dumped with the cartons.

Tasks: Again, we need proper blue bulk bins to better encourage housekeepers not to throw rubbish into the paper recycling bulk bins



SHAW FOUNDATION ALUMNI HOUSE: 3 green bins are being used for collection of general waste, paper and plastic/aluminium cans, however they are neatly labelled and separated to avoid any confusion. The amount of carton waste has been noticed to be exceeding the bin capacities, therefore some cartons have been dumped into the plastic/aluminium recycling bin.

Tasks: Offer Shaw Foundation Alumni house proper coloured bulk bins and offer them an additional paper/ carton bulk bin?


STAFF CLUB: All 3 types of recycling bins are placed at a distance from the bin centre and the cardboard bin needs to be labelled. These bins appear to be under-utilised.

Tasks: Need to check with housekeeping staff if such bins are used.



TEMASEK LAB: The photograph and feedback from passers-by are clear indication that there is a need for general waste bins. There was a green bin which is being used as general waste bin. No cardboard recycling bin was found. In spite of lack of bins, the cartons or general waste have not been dumped into the recycling bins.

Tasks: Great job by housekeeping staff not to throw waste into the recycling bulk bins!!

OED should consider creating a new trash collection point here. Need to talk to Ishak.



UNIVERSITY HALL: There are 3 green bins out of which 2 have been clearly labelled as paper bins. However, carton waste is more prominent than paper waste and no bin has been labelled as carton bin.

Tasks: Just replace with proper blue bulk bins. Under- utilized.




YUSOF ISHAK HOUSE: All the bins are placed neatly with clear labels and the contamination level was not noticeable.

Tasks: Seemed to have improved drastically since the last highlight to Retail and Dining. YEAH!




YST CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC: 2 general waste bins are placed at the bin centre however another bin was placed at a distance away from there. There was a bin for cardboard but no bin for paper collection.

Tasks: Need to replace with proper blue bulk bin again. Need to check if there is room or space for blue bulk bin for paper.