Zero Waste Masterplan (2019)

The Zero Waste Masterplan (ZWM) gives shape to the ambition of Singapore regarding its Waste Management System and the Resource Sustainability Act (RSA) defines the legal framework towards this objective. 

This ambition was prompted by the high increase of waste being disposed in Singapore over the last 40 years which questions the Semakau landfill’s ability to fulfil its mission beyond 2035, while there is limited space to build an additional landfill.

The ZWM and the RSA are part of Singapore’s strategy to build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. They set out measures targeting the three waste streams that currently have high generation and low recycling rates:

  • Food
  • E-waste
  • Packaging, including plastics

The goal is also to promote a more responsible and holistic approach through:

  • Sustainable production, based on eco-design, resource efficiency and ‘industry symbiosis’ (the waste of a company may be valuable as part of another company’s business model).
  • Sustainable consumption, by which both consumers and businesses would commit to reuse and donate more while favouring green labelled products.
  • Sustainable waste and resource management, as part of a more circular economy.

Throughout these different streams and the provisions listed under the 2019 Resource Sustainability Act, better use of resources are expected by further promoting the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

To support these efforts while strengthening Singapore’s climate, resource and economic resilience, the investment will be made in R&D projects, notably as regards the on-site treatment of waste and waste-to-energy processes, as well as in optimized treatment and recovery infrastructure. 

Beyond 2035
Extend Semakau landfill’s lifespan
Reduce by 30%
the amount of waste from the domestic sector sent to landfill per capita by 2030
(with 2018 as a baseline)
Achieve a 70%
overall recycling rate by 2030
81% non-domestic recycling rate (vs. 74% in 2018)
30% for domestic recycling rate (vs. 22% in 2018)

More details: 

Over the last 10 years
the amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by nearly 30%.
763 million kg
of food waste were generated in 2018
(the weight of more than 54,000 double decker buses).

Under the updated Resource Sustainability Act, several mandatory provisions have been adopted as regards food waste segregation and treatment in Singapore.


2021 - Developers of new commercial and industrial premises, where large amounts of food waste are expected to be generated, must set aside space for on-site or off-site food waste treatment systems in their design plans.
2024 - Existing large commercial and industrial food waste generators are required to segregate food waste for treatment using on-site food waste treatment systems (compost) or off-site facility treatment. This includes large hotels and malls, large industrial developments housing food manufacturers, food caterers and food storage warehouses. Premises that have set aside space as part of 2021’s requirements must now implement on-site treatment. 

To support businesses in their efforts, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has produced a series of food waste minimisation guidebooks, which provide advice and examples across the whole value chain: 

In addition, corporates can also apply to the 3R Fund to get financial assistance when installing on-site food waste treatment systems.

Browse our solutions for food waste in Food & Beverage category.

Additional resources: Food section on the NEA’s website.

60,000 tonnes
of e-waste a year are discarded by Singapore (the equivalent of 70 mobile phones per person).
contains precious materials such as silver or gold, and heavy metals which can cause damage to the health and the environment.

E-waste covers electrical and electronic waste, such as but not limited to computers, laptops, mobile phones, TVs...

Under the updated Resource Sustainability Act, producers of certain categories of EEE, including manufacturers and importers, will become responsible for the proper end-of-life management of their products under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

The EPR framework is designed to ensure producers bear the responsibility for the collection and treatment of their electronic products when these products reach their end-of-life. 

Producers, as defined in the Act, are required to register with the NEA to supply regulated products.

Consumer products

  • The Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) establishes the network for the public collection of regulated e-waste, ensuring that such waste is properly collected, treated and recycled.
  • NEA will be appointing one PRS operator to develop and implement a system to organise the collection (through scheduled collection drives and e-waste bins in public areas) and recycling of consumer products on behalf of the producers. 
  • All retailers of regulated consumer products will be required to provide free one-for-one take-back services during deliveries. 
  • Large retailers will be required to set up in-store e-waste collection points and ensure that the e-waste is collected by the PRS operator. 

Non-consumer products

All producers of non-consumer products used by businesses will be required to: 

  • provide free take-back of their end-of-life equipment from their clients upon request and 
  • dispose of the e-waste through a licensed waste collector or e-waste recycler. 


2021 - This Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework, which will apply as of 2021, builds on existing voluntary schemes and requires businesses to collect e-waste and ensure it is recycled by licensed companies. For retailers whose floor area is above 300 m2, it will be mandatory to reserve space for e-waste collection of information and technology equipment, lamp and batteries.
⅓ of domestic waste
are made of packaging waste, including plastics, disposed of in Singapore and has different purposes:
Contain the product, protect the items during delivery and advertise or promote the products (marketing).
Around 55%
of the packaging waste is plastic packaging, whilst 25% is made of paper.
The remaining 20% covers other types of packaging materials, such as metal and glass.

Browse our solutions for e-waste in Digital Footprint and IT.


Packaging Waste: Mandatory Packaging Reporting Framework

Mandatory Packaging Reporting will be implemented by 2025.

  • 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 (materials, form, and the corresponding weights) and 3R plans to NEA. 
  • The 3R plans will have to include details of key initiatives, key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets (use of recycled content in packaging material, packaging reduction, etc).
  • Companies will be required to report on the progress of these plans in subsequent years of reporting.


2020 - to extend the scope of work of the Mandatory Waste Reporting (2014), NEA made a current framework (large malls and hotels) also mandatory to all large industrial and commercial premises (including large convention and exhibition centres). More info here.

2021 - The Mandatory Packaging Reporting of data (amounts and type of packaging placed on the market) and 3R Plan (packaging improvement plan) for packaging producers which include brand owners, manufacturers, and retailers whose turnover is more than $10 million.

By 2022 - the National Environment Agency (NEA) will be implementing a Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for beverage containers.

2025 -  No later than 2025, an extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework for packaging, including plastics, will be put in place (and is now being studied by the National Environment Agency). 

Packaging covered under the mandatory packaging reporting include:

  • Primary packaging service (sales unit to the final consumer) 
  • Secondary packaging (grouping of sales units)
  • Tertiary packaging 

To facilitate transport and handling of products and service packaging (which is filled at point of sales). Obligations under the law depend according to the types of packaging and ownership of packaging. 

For, at least the first year, only service, primary, and secondary packaging are relevant. Tertiary packaging will not have to be reported on the first year. 

As for food waste, businesses can apply to the 3R Fund to get financial assistance for projects aimed at redesigning processes to reduce waste, developing dedicated infrastructure and improving recycling processes.

Additional resources: Factsheet 1 and Factsheet 2 on mandatory packaging reporting.

signatories of SPA have cumulatively reduced more than 46,000 tonnes of packaging waste since 2007. 
retail outlets involved in the BYO movement have reduced over 2.5 million pieces of plastic disposables since 2017.
  • More than 200 companies have signed the voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement and made the commitment to reduce packaging waste from consumer products and the supply chain. Since the SPA was introduced in 2007, the signatories have cumulatively reduced more than 46,000 tonnes of packaging waste. 
  • Zero Waste SG started the Bring-Your-Own Singapore Movement in 2017 to rally retailers to offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bags, bottles or containers. The campaign involved 430 retail outlets and reduced over 2.5 million pieces of plastic disposables.
Written by
Solène Meissonnier
Public affair specialist