The Resource Sustainability Act
The Resource Sustainability Act (as of July 2020)
The Resource Sustainability Act, introduced by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), is an integral part of Singapore’s strategy to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. The Act will give legislative effect to the regulatory measures targeting the three priority waste streams of e-waste, food waste and packaging waste, including plastics. These waste streams have relatively high generation and low recycling rates.
Electrical and Electronic Waste: Extended Producer Responsibility
2 The National Environment Agency (NEA) will introduce a regulated e-waste management system by 2021, with the assignment of responsibilities to key stakeholders through an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach.
3 Under the EPR framework, producers of regulated electrical and electronic products will be made responsible for the collection and proper treatment of their e-waste. These producers are companies that manufacture or import regulated products for supply on the local market. All e-waste collected under the e-waste management system will have to be channelled to licensed e-waste recyclers for proper treatment.
4 The implementation of a regulated e-waste management system in Singapore will ensure the proper and safe handling and extraction of resources from e-waste. This system will also fund the aggregation and recovery of valuable resources from e-waste for reuse, turning trash into treasure. The NEA is working closely with the industry to implement the e-waste management system.
E-waste management system for consumer products
Collection of e-waste through the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS), in-store collection points and take-back services
5 Consumer products refer to equipment largely marketed to, and bought or used by the general public (e.g. laptops, mobile phones and household appliances). NEA will be appointing one PRS operator to develop and implement a system to organise the collection and recycling of consumer products on behalf of the producers. The PRS operator will be appointed through an open tender, and the winning bidder will be required to develop programmes to encourage the public to recycle e-waste, provide avenues for e-waste recycling (e.g. scheduled collection drives and e-waste bins in public areas), collect and transport the e-waste to NEA-licensed e-waste recyclers, and report the tonnage of e-waste collected to NEA.
6 The PRS operator will be responsible for meeting e-waste collection targets set by NEA. NEA has set the target for large household appliances at 60 per cent of the put-to-market weight, and the target for the rest of the covered consumer products at 20 per cent of the put-to-market weight. Please refer to Annex A for a summary of the collection targets. As a transitional measure, penalties for missing enforcement targets will not be imposed in the first three years. Producers of consumer products will be required to join the PRS and finance the collection and recycling of the e-waste.
7 All retailers of regulated consumer products will be required to provide free one-for-one take-back services during delivery. Large retailers with floor area of 300m2 and above will be required to set up in-store e-waste collection points for ICT equipment, lamps and batteries, and ensure that the e-waste is collected by the PRS operator.
Exemptions for small producers and retailers
8 The PRS will be financed by the producers of consumer products in proportion to their market share. The producers will hence be required to report to NEA the tonnage of regulated products that they put to market. NEA will be exempting small producers and retailers that supply less than a specified threshold amount of regulated products to the local market from the PRS. These producers are only required to register with NEA and report the amount of regulated products they supply to the local market annually. Likewise, retailers with a floor area of less than 300m2 will be exempted from setting up in-store collection points. Please refer to Annex B for the exemption thresholds of the covered products.
E-waste management system for non-consumer products
9 Non-consumer products refer to commercial and industrial equipment largely marketed and sold to businesses (e.g. solar photovoltaic panels and servers). To provide businesses with an avenue to properly dispose of their e-waste, all producers of non-consumer products will be required to provide free take-back of all their end-of-life equipment from their clients upon request. There will be no exemptions for the producers of equipment that are covered under the system. Producers are also required to dispose of the e-waste by presenting it to either a licensed waste collector or e-waste recycler. Please refer to Annex C for a summary of the main responsibilities of the stakeholders.
Packaging Waste: Mandatory Packaging Reporting Framework
Submission of packaging data and 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) plans
10 Mandatory packaging reporting is aimed at raising companies’ awareness of the benefits of packaging waste reduction. It is also meant to spur companies to reduce the amount of packaging used. It will lay the foundation for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework for managing packaging waste, including plastics. This will be implemented no later than 2025.
11 Under the mandatory packaging reporting framework, producers of packaged products, such as brand owners, manufacturers and importers, as well as retailers such as supermarkets, will be required to submit packaging data and 3R plans to NEA. Companies will have to provide information on the packaging placed on the Singapore market, broken down according to type of packaging material (e.g. plastic, paper, metal, glass), packaging form (e.g. carrier bags, bottles) and the corresponding weights. Please refer to Annex D for information on common types of packaging and Annex E for examples of packaging that companies will have to report.
12 The 3R plans that companies are required to submit will have to include details of key initiatives, key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets. Companies will be required to report on the progress of these plans in subsequent years of reporting. The types of 3R plans for packaging that companies could consider include: (i) packaging reduction; (ii) packaging collection for reuse or recycling; (iii) consumer or industry outreach related to packaging 3Rs; (iv) use of recycled content in packaging material; and (v) improvements in recyclability of packaging.
Minimising impact on micro and small enterprises
For a start, the requirements will apply to brand owners, manufacturers, importers of packaged goods, as well as supermarkets with an annual turnover of more than $10 million. This is to minimise the impact on micro and small enterprises. These companies will have to register with NEA when the reporting framework comes into effect in 2020, and make their first submission to NEA in 2022.
14 Moving forward, NEA will continue to support companies in reducing packaging waste to achieve both business cost savings and environmental benefits. Some future programmes in sustainable packaging management that NEA is studying include building industry capability in the 3Rs, fostering the sustainable use of resources in supply chains, and raising industry and consumer awareness of packaging waste management. The programme will complement the mandatory packaging reporting requirements and the EPR framework for packaging waste management.
Food Waste: Segregation for Treatment
Mandatory for large commercial and industrial generators of food waste
15 From 2024 onwards, MEWR/NEA will make it mandatory for the owners and operators of commercial and industrial premises, where large amounts of food waste are generated, to segregate their food waste for treatment. Such premises include large hotels and malls, and large industrial developments housing food manufacturers or food caterers. Further details on the types of prescribed premises subjected to the mandatory segregation requirements and the corresponding thresholds are provided in Annex F.
16 The owners of existing commercial and industrial premises that generate large amounts of food waste will be allowed to choose the food waste treatment method that best suits their operations. For example, the affected premises can recycle homogenous food waste into animal feed, use on-site food waste treatment systems, or send their food waste to an off-site facility for treatment.
On-site treatment of food waste from 2024
17 The on-site treatment of food waste reduces the associated environmental costs, such as carbon emissions, involved in the transportation of food waste to an off-site facility for treatment. For new premises that generate large amounts of food waste, space for on-site food waste treatment systems can be incorporated at the planning stage to allow for the closed-loop management of food waste within these premises. Hence, from 2021, MEWR/NEA will make it mandatory for developers of new commercial and industrial developments, where large amounts of food waste are expected to be generated, to allocate and set aside space for on-site food waste treatment systems in their design plans. They will also be required to implement on-site treatment of food waste from 2024. The adoption of such systems will allow for the closed-loop management of food waste at these premises, where the food waste could be converted to compost for landscaping purposes or water for non-potable uses.
18 These new requirements will help ensure that food waste from large generators, instead of being incinerated, is diverted for treatment and converted into products such as animal feed, compost/fertiliser, non-potable water or biogas for energy generation. Segregating food waste for treatment also reduces odour and pest nuisances at premises, and reduces the contamination of recyclables by food waste, allowing for greater resource recovery.
19 MEWR and NEA have been consulting industry on the new proposed requirements for large food waste generators, as the implementation details are being developed. Some owners/operators of commercial and industrial premises are already segregating their food waste for treatment.
E-waste collection targets for the appointed PRS Operator
|Product Cateogry||Product Type||Collection Target|
Personal Desktop Computers/ Monitors/ Laptops
Mobile Phones/ Tablets
Routers/ Modems/ Set-top boxes
|20% of PTM by weight|
|Large Appliances||Refrigerators||60% of PTM by weight|
|Electric Mobility Devices||20% of PTM by weight|
|Lamps||LED / Fluorescent / Incandescent Bulbs and Tubes||20% of PTM by weight|
|Batteries||Portable||20% of PTM by weight|
Exemption thresholds for producers of regulated products
|Product Cateogry||Product Type||Put-to-Market Threshold per Year|
|Personal Desktop Computers/ Monitors/ Laptops|
|Mobile Phones/ Tablets|
|Routers/ Modems/ Set-top boxes|
All producers of servers will be required to offer free take-back of all of their end-of-life equipment from their clients upon request.
|Large Appliances||Refrigerators||<100 tonnes|
|Electric Mobility Devices||N.A
All producers of electric mobility devices will be required to finance the PRS operator.
|Lamps||LED / Fluorescent / Incandescent Bulbs and Tubes||20% of PTM by weight|
|Batteries||Portable Batteries||<3 tonnes|
|Hybrid / Electric Vehicle Batteries||<15 tonnes|
All producers of industrial batteries will be required to offer free take-back of all of their end-of-life equipment from their clients upon request.
|Lamps||LED / Fluorescent / Incandescent Bulbs and Tubes||<3 tonnes|
|Solar PV Panels||All types||N.A
All producers of solar PV panels will be required to offer free take-back of all of their end-of-life equipment from their clients upon request.
Producers supplying less than the specified threshold amount of regulated products to the local market will be exempted from financing the PRS. These producers are only required to register with NEA and report the amount of regulated products they supply to the local market annually.
Summary of main responsibilities of key e-waste stakeholders
|Product Cateogry||Main Responsibilities|
|Producers of consumer products||
|Producers of non-consumer products||
|Operator of Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS)||
|Retailers of consumer products||
Common Types of Packaging
Packaging refers to all products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and/or presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods. Common types of packaging materials include glass, metal, paper and plastic.
|Primary packaging||Service packaging||Secondary packaging||Tertiary packaging|
|Packaging conceived to constitute a sales unit to the final user/consumer||Packaging which is filled at the point-of-sales||Packaging conceived to constitute a grouping of a certain number of sales units, whether the units are sold as such to the final user/consumer or whether the packaging serves only as a means to replenish the shelves at the point-of-sales||Packaging conceived for a number of sales units or grouped packaging in order to facilitate physical handling and prevent transport damage|
|Examples: glass bottles for drinks, paper milk cartons, plastic bottles for household cleaning agents||Examples: carrier bags, takeaway containers, cups||Example: Paperboard used to bundle-pack beverage bottles||Examples: carton box, pallet|
With references made to the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste
Examples of Packaging to be Reported
The table below provides some examples of packaging that companies are required to report.
|Types of companies||Examples of packaging to be reported|
|Manufacturer of packaged goods
Including: Companies that supply packaged goods that they manufacture in Singapore and companies that contract third-party companies to manufacture packaged goods (e.g. brand owners)
|Primary and secondary packaging of packaged goods|
Including: Companies that pack their own goods directly and companies that contract third-party companies to pack goods (e.g. brand owners)
|Packaging used to pack goods|
|Importer of packaged goods
Including: Companies that contract third-party companies to import (e.g. brand owners) and companies that import directly (e.g. parallel importers)
|Primary and secondary packaging of packaged goods|
|Retailers such as operators of supermarkets||Service packaging (i.e. packaging filled at the point-of-sales e.g. carrier bags) that they use in their operations|
Type of premises and corresponding thresholds
|Types of Premises||Threshold||Exemptions|
|Shopping Malls||F&B Area||> 3,000 sqm||N.A|
|Hotels||F&B and Function Area||> 3,000 sqm||M.A|
|Single-user Factory (SUFs)||Large Food Manufacturers||Operation area > 750 sqm||Manufacturers of spices, dried foodstuffs, additives, bottled water, high pressure processing|
|Multi-user Factory (MUFs)||GFA and food tenants||GFA > 20,000 sqm and with > 20 food tenants||N.A|
|At least one large food manufacturer||Operation area > 750 sqm||Manufacturers of spices, dried foodstuffs, additives, bottled water, high pressure processing|
(updated as of 30 July 2020)
 PTM (put-to-market) refers to the amount of electrical and electronic equipment the producers supply to the market.
 Based on an average of the past three years preceding the compliance year.