From a linear to circular economy

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Singapores Recycling Scene (Pt 1)

Hi everyone!

Did you know that it was all the way back in April 2001 when Singapore introduced recycling bins in our housing estates? (SOURCE) I think it is safe to say our blue bins have been around for such a long time that many of us do not think twice about it.

(Source: ST File)

However, do you know what happens after we dispose our recyclables in these blue bins? If like me, you thought they get sent to a factory and magically get recycled, do check out this video below which illustrates the journey of our recyclables.



So, how can we recycle ‘better´?

1.  Although recycling bins may seem like just another dustbin for non-compostable items, (or anything to some) they are not! There is a strict list of things that can be recycled. Here are some commonly recycled items that should not be recycled.

(Source: Screenshot from source)

The list of what can and cannot be recycled goes on, so do check out the complete list if you have the time!

2. We need to rinse our recyclables before putting them into the recycling bin. Now, although I definitely do not recommend this, realistically if we do not have a water source to wash our recyclables or are just simply too lazy to do so, I do think it is better to just dispose of them in the regular trash bin. If we put dirty items in the recycling bin, it contaminates the entire bin, wasting all efforts!

3. Proper disposal of electronic waste (e-waste). Any old electronic item is considered e-waste. This includes every battery, charging cable and old handphone. E-waste is made of heavy metals and other hazardous components, that, when sent to a normal recycling facility, could release toxic gases, harming the environment and our health. (SOURCE) Lucky for us, there have been more e-waste bins being set up around Singapore, making it easier for us to dispose of e-waste properly.


Although recycling of e-waste may seem troublesome, e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste issues in Singapore. Singapore generates an estimated 60,000 tonnes of e-waste in a year, which is the second largest figure in our region! (SOURCE)

Circular economy…or not?

Great! Singapore has perfected a ‘circular economy’! Well… sadly, no. Where does all of our recycled waste end up eventually? Does it get circulated back into Singapore’s economy? I shall dive into ‘the truth’ of Singapore’s recycling situation in my next post!




  1. Hey Victoria!

    This is such a nice read! I remember when I was in primary school, I used to bring bags of plastic bottles that my house has accumulated to school to recycle. Unfortunately, now, recycling has been less on the minds of the public as they simply consume disposables and not bat an eyelid as they throw them into the bins scattered across the country. Even now, there is a persisting issue of people unknowingly contaminating recycling bins due to ignorance or simply due to laziness. I’ve also never really thought about e-waste and the fate of e-waste in Singapore so this was an interesting perspective. I look forward to reading more of your posts next time!


  2. Hi Victoria,

    Not sure if you noticed, but at 3:09, when the TV host asks the Sembcorp worker “so what % of this stuff actually gets recycled?”, she evades the question completely and answers “Actually, 40 % of the recyclables are contaminated.”

    And then, they refer to the sorted materials being sent “overseas” without stating what that actually means.

    And then, how about this ? “so this bale of plastics might come back into my life as a plastic bottle.” My goodness.

    Oh look – the main obstacle to recycling (which will totally solve our waste problem) is people not using the blue bins properly !

    What’s wrong with this picture ? What’s wrong with each of these “facts” portrayed in the video ?

    Why can’t we be told the truth ? Should BES students make a counterpoint video ?



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