Singapore recycling firm Tay Paper set to close

The 34-year-old company is under judicial management. It made a name for itself by recycling millions of red packets discarded during Chinese New Year and is one of Singapore’s biggest paper recyclers.

Bails of paper await processing at Tay Paper Recycling's facility in Tuas, western Singapiore.
Stacks of paper at Tay Paper Recycling's facility in Tuas, western Singapore. Image: Robin Hicks / Eco-Business

Singapore paper recycling firm Tay Paper Recycling is set to close after 34 years in business.

The company was originally an informal scrap dealer in the late 1980s and had grown into one of Singapore’s biggest paper recyclers. It collects, sorts, pulps and bails waste office paper, newspapers, and corrugated cardboard for export to paper mills to make new recycled products. 

Tay Paper Recycling is currently under judicial management, which is when a third party is appointed to restructure a struggling company’s debt. On a visit to the company’s premises on Friday, Eco-Business found large volumes of paper awaiting processing but no activity. The company employs around 20 staff.

Tay Paper has made headlines in recent years for recycling millions of red packets sold during Chinese New Year in partnership with Singapore banks DBS and OCBC.

Though the company, known for its high-quality, well-sorted paper, had cornered a large share of Singapore’s used paper market, it ran into financial difficulties earlier this year, according to sources familiar with the company. Staff at the plant confirmed that the company is under judicial management.

Its website has been suspended and reviews on Google point to disgruntled employees who left with unpaid CPF, a mandatory savings scheme for Singaporeans citizens and permanent residents.

Much of the cost of running the firm goes into procuring used paper – Singapore has no producer responsibility law that requires producers to pay for the paper they use to be collected. Manually sorting used paper is another costly part of the business, an executive explained in a past interview.

Tay Paper Recycling was previously owned by Sembcorp, but the industrial conglomerate divested its stake in the company for S$6 million (US$4.4 million) in 2018.

Paper has a relatively high recycling rate in Singapore – 37 per cent – compared to just 6 per cent for plastics. But the paper recycling rate has dropped in recent years, down from 44 per cent in 2019.


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