Circularity in retail - Tackling the waste problem

Circularity in retail - Tackling the waste problem

As one of the largest generators of waste in Singapore, the retail sector has a critical role to advance circularity and support Singapore’s Zero Waste Master Plan. Initial efforts to reduce waste in the retail sector have met some success, but opportunities remain to achieve greater waste reduction and recycling targets.

The study Circularity in Retail - Tackling the Waste Problem is a collaboration between Lendlease and WWF-Singapore. It identifies key solutions that the retail sector can implement in order to propel its efforts in reducing waste.

This study comes at a time when an in-depth analysis specific to Singapore’s mall typology is much needed to fill the knowledge gap and facilitate progress. It focuses on the following problem statements:

  1. What are the main types of recyclable waste streams in a typical retail mall in Singapore?
  2. What are the main sources of waste in a typical retail mall in Singapore?
  3. Which sources of waste have the least or greatest rates of recycling and why?
  4. What are the keys barriers to reduce waste and where are potential opportunities for improved waste management in a mall?

This study analysed Lendlease’s waste data collected from its four retail malls in Singapore, supplemented by additional on-site and off-site interviews and observations with key stakeholders, data collection and a plastic waste profiling exercise.

This highlighted the issues surrounding waste generation and recycling at retail malls and provided a baseline to compare the performance of any future pilot initiatives.

As Singapore moves towards becoming a zero-waste nation, key stakeholders across the retail sector, including mall operators, retail tenants and waste management contractors, can play their part both individually and collaboratively.

This study provides a way forward for circularity in retail by focusing on three categories of solutions, such as:

  1. Waste data monitoring,
  2. Reducing waste at source, and
  3. Increasing segregation of recyclables.

A critical next step will be to identify scalable initiatives for pilot trials.

For more information, please watch the launch event here, visit or contact us at

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