With bins located almost everywhere, it is easy to “just bin it”! However, with trash filling our landfills faster than that you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, we’re reaching a scary breaking point. So here is your guide to dispose and donate goods that are unwanted in Singapore.
Our recycling rate in Singapore was only 19% in 2015. We can do better. Together we can help raise our local recycling numbers. We put together this guide to help you sort your stuff out and minimise your impact by recycling.
It can be overwhelming to know what can and cannot be recycled and where to go. So below you will find a list broken down into disposable recyclables, electronic waste, clothes, and where to donate. While recycling, you might even earn a little extra cash, do good for the community and declutter your home. Of course, we do have to say that whenever possible – reduce, reuse and repurpose. See where you can embrace more of a zero-waste lifestyle.
1. Disposable recyclables
You might have seen the blue bins around – in 2 sizes. This is the possibly the most convenient recycling location. You don’t need to sort your waste. National Environment Agency (NEA) has implemented the National Recycling Programme so that you should be able to easily find recycling bins near your home. This also applies to the recycling bins you find at tourist attractions and shopping malls. Do make sure that your recyclables are clean and not contaminated with food otherwise, it goes to general waste. Spread the word.
Here are a few things that you cannot recycle in these bins
- Disposable chopsticks, paper plates and cups, cutlery
- Tissue paper
- Takeaway food containers (styrofoam or PS plastics)
- Plastic film for food packaging
- Lightbulbs, mirrors, and windows
Get the full list of what you can and cannot recycle from our friends at ZeroWaste Singapore.
Check your void deck, outside your home, rubbish chutes. They are everywhere!
Tip: Keep your recyclables in a separate trash can at home and rinse them to remove all food residue.
In 2016, Singapore generated more than 140,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste, but only 6% of such waste was recycled. If your closet is bursting at its seams, there are a few options to get them to better places.
- For swapping, upcycling and tailoring – The Fashion Pulpit is for you. This is a fashion space for those who value style and sustainability. You can join as a member with the option to swap all month long or can purchase the pre-loved clothes. They also have upcycling and tailoring services so you can repair, reuse and refit.
- For clothes recycling collected from your house – check out Greensquare who provide a free textile recycling service. They want to promote awareness of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). They will collect from your house or can be dropped off at Zhai at Tanglin Mall or The Green Collective at OneKM Mall. And if you refer your friends via their website, you get 10% discount at Zerrin when they recycle their clothes.
- For clothes recycling bins – H&M – You can drop off your clothes to be recycled in the bins at H&M and get a $10 discount on your next purchase (min $80).
- For buying or selling pre-loved items – REFASH – Makes buying and selling secondhand fashion quick and hassle-free. You can sell your old clothes and accessories, to list is free and they take a 19% handling fee.
- For buying or selling pre-loved luxury items – StyleTribute – offers authentic women’s luxury fashion brands such as Chanel, Céline, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and many more at up to 90% off original retail price. Opt for DIY upload to keep 80% of sale price or ‘white glove’ for hassle-free service to keep 70-75% of sale price.
Before you change to that new iPhone or Android, think about what to do with that old phone. If it’s still usable, sell it at your nearest resellers. But if it’s not in working condition, locate your nearest e-waste collector and drop it in. Take note that they collect most electronic items, but different programmes may collect slightly different electronic items. Additionally, if your items are like-new and you want to give this a new lease of life to someone else, donation and trading-in is another option (scroll down for more information on donating and reselling your goods).
What you can recycle
- Mobile phones, mobile phone batteries
- Laptops, keyboards, modems, computer mice, docking stations, hard disk drives and printed circuit boards
- DVD players, VCD players, set-top boxes, MP3 players, VCRs, remote controls and car stereos
- Telephones and answering machines
- Cables, plugs, and wires
- Lithium batteries and cables
- Modems and routers
- Mobile devices and accessories
- SIM/memory cards
- Other related electronic items (specific to collection point)
For easy reference, here’s a map to find out where you can locate your nearest e-waste collectors and more specific drop points for each below.
For most electronic appliances and accessories:
- Starhub’s RENEW Programme – over 300 bin locations
- Singtel x SingPost’s E-Waste Recycling Programme – over 15 locations
- M1 E-Waste Drop-off Point Programme – 7 locations
- City Square Mall E-Waste Recycling Programme – 1 location
- Heartland E-Waste Recycling Programme – Collection points are at RCs, CCs and NCs around the South East CDC on the first Saturdays of the month between 9.30 am to 1.30 pm
- Punggol Eco-Drive
For light bulbs and fluorescent tubes:
- IKEA’s Lightbulb recycling programme – Collection bins at the lighting department and wrapping stations
Ink and toner cartridge:
- Dell or HP – they can even pick it up from your home
- Project Homecoming – located at 21 public libraries
- Canon Singapore
Tip: Remember to wipe clean the data, you don’t want your personal details and account numbers floating around.
4. Donate & Sell
What if you have unwanted goods that are still in good condition? Give the items a second lease of life by donating them. Do be mindful that these places are not trash bins, let’s be responsible donors.
- For clothes, shoes, general donation items check out thrift stores – such as New2U, MINDS Thrift Store, Salvation Army and TOUCH Thrift Mart. Their profits go to the organisations they support and it’s a good way to not just shop, but also give your old items a new lease of life.
- For bras – Uplight Project Singapore collects bras to provide support to women who don’t always have access to them. We always love seeing #WomenSupportingWomen.
- For baby supplies, clothes and reusable items like toys and essentials – Babes provides support to pregnant teens to help them along their newfound journey towards motherhood and your donations will go far with them.
- For old electronics, textiles, and other items – drop them off at Metta Welfare Association and Pass It On. Here, your used home appliances, electronics, clothes and toys go to people want them more than you do.
- For regional donations – Blessings in a Bag passes on these items to communities overseas that need your help.
Another option is to sell your items.
- For electronics – At places like Cash Converters, PC Dreams (for your electronics).
- For recyclables– Veolia gives Cash-For-Trash at 42 locations to encourage more people to recycle.
- For furniture – Hock Siong & Co dubs themselves as your Karung Guni store (ah, childhood). They can help you deal with old furniture by refurbishing them if they’re a fixer-upper and manage your secondhand furniture.
- For clothing – see above.
Your sustainable trashing journey has just begun. Help us spread the word and let’s get those recycling rates up.
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