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Textile, Shoes, E-Waste & Contact Lens Blisters: A Look into By The Bay’s Recycling Collections 2022

BayGreen’s initiative to promote a circular economy, and to support Singapore into a net-zero city includes encouraging responsible disposal of items.

This is aimed to uphold green practices and contribute towards a sustainable future by donating lightly-used shoes and clothes, as well as recycling e-waste and contact lens blisters.

We are heartened to report that the recycling campaign has seen tremendous participation from our community, with the following amount having been collected as of December 2022:

Clothes - 3,727 kg
Shoes - 304 kg
E-waste - 2,928 kg
Contact lens blisters - 27 kg (30,000 blisters)

Cloop (short for “closing the fashion loop”), our recycling partner for textile items teamed up with Lifeline Clothing to install textile bins in Singapore. The collaboration seeks to reuse and repurpose all collected items by separating them into over 500 categories to suit their purpose. Together, they hope to substantially up the recycling rate.

Singapore generated 189,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste in 2021. Only 4 per cent of this, or 7,000 tonnes, was recycled. The National Environment Agency said that the high diversity of materials that make up a typical piece of clothing makes textile waste challenging to recycle.

“All these years, we have the general waste bin, we have the blue bin which accepts only four materials which are paper, plastic, glass and metal. What about textiles? There's no specific bin just to collect textile waste. Clothing in good condition can be donated to charities, but charitable organisations are “overburdened” by such donations. What about textiles that are worn, stained or torn?”, says Jasmine Tuan, founder of Cloop, whose social enterprise aims to reduce fashion waste. She calls it the “missing bin” that Singapore needs.

Meanwhile, our e-waste collection partner ALBA reported a monthly collection average of 580 kg of mobile phones from July 2021 to June 2022. Over the next few months, this increased to an average of 1,200 kg a month. With the average phone weight of 150 g to 200 g, this means that there was a monthly collection of up to 8,000 phones!

June See, public relations executive at ALBA, shares that they collect any and all mobile phones, regardless of its model or condition. However, she recommends placing shattered gadgets into safe containers such as ziplock bags before disposal, as this will help protect the personnel sifting through the collections from harm. Their recycling partner Virogreen also shares that it may take up to 417 man-hours to dismantle a month’s worth of mobile phones.

Despite the challenges, it is still a recommended practice over simply disposing them into the rubbish bin, as improper disposal of electronics may lead to releasing hazardous toxic substances when they are a part of the landfill.

On the other hand, Two of a Kind, launched their contact blister recycling initiative, #project2x2 in October 2019 to contribute to a more circular, less wasteful, and less pollutive plastics system. At that time, the plastic waste generated in Singapore was at 868,000 tonnes, of which only 36,000 tonnes (or again, 4 per cent) was recycled. By The Bay is one of their network of advocate drop-off locations for this initiative.

Last year, their target was to collect 1 million blisters, which is 1 tonne of plastic. They reported a total collection of 1,001kg blisters, which is equivalent to 1.1 million individual blisters. “We wanted to increase the recycling number, even by just 1 tonne. No matter how small it may seem in the big picture. This is to show that the more we come together, the more we can increase that recycling percentage.” says Rachel Lee, co-founder of Two of a Kind.

By The Bay encourages the community to continue supporting Singapore’s sustainability efforts and facilitate proper recycling practices. Donate your unwanted textile, footwear and electronic devices into the correct bins at our designated recycling space located near 7-Eleven (B2-56) at Marina Bay Link Mall.

By The Bay Recycling Corner at Marina Bay Link Mall (Near 7-Eleven)

For contact lens blisters, drop them off at any Concierge counters at Marina Bay Financial Centre, One Raffles Quay and Marina Bay Link Mall.

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