Tapping into student creativity to increase recycling rates

In partnership with Coca-Cola Singapore, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has launched the Schools’ Recycling Bin Design Competition 2016 to find innovative ways to increase the national recycling rate in Singapore.

Supported by a US $250,000 contribution from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the SEC and Coca-Cola are turning to the country’s next generation of leaders to design concepts for a new type of recycling bin which will actively encourage recycling, in the classroom and at home.

In addition to inspiring students to be innovative and creative, the competition will encourage students to think about everyday household behaviours in Singapore and to address these habits with a new type of recycling bin which is both practical and effective.

Refuse disposal chutes have been built into Singapore kitchens and lift landings for over 50 years. Although convenient, these chutes are increasingly being identified as one of the main reasons for hindering recycling in the country, as Singaporeans of all ages continue to dispose of all their household waste together.

In 2015, the overall recycling rate was 61 per cent. While this reflects a minor increase from 60 per cent in 2014, recycling rates are still low. This reaffirms that more efforts are needed to achieve the national recycling target of 70 per cent by 2030.

The Schools’ Recycling Bin Design Competition involves students coming together in teams to conceptualise recycling bins using materials that are sustainably sourced, upcycled or recycled as inspiration for their designs. The strongest entries will be shortlisted, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 10 November 2016 based on votes received from a judging panel and members of the public.

A 500-prototype trial of the winning design will be rolled out to selected households and schools in February next year to test the effectiveness of the bins, and to gather data on recycling habits and attitudes. The results of the trial will be revealed in May 2017.

Mr Edwin Seah, Executive Director at SEC, said of the partnership: “Recycling is a key component in achieving a sustainable Singapore. Our partnership with Coca-Cola Singapore aligns with our outreach efforts of working with the community, in this case, our school and community network, to take action together through innovative solutions. We hope that from this competition, students and households will understand the true benefits of recycling and start inculcating the habit of recycling.”

Tony Del Rosario, General Manager from Coca-Cola Singapore commented: “Coca-Cola is committed to making a positive difference in the world by making sustainability a part of everything we do. By partnering with the SEC and engaging with the local community, we hope to inform, inspire and motivate Singaporeans to see that packaging from drinks and other household items are a valuable resource which we can be recycled and reused”.

Almost 60 pre-schools, primary, secondary and tertiary schools from across the country have already signed up to take part in the competition.

In line with the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, the Schools’ Recycling Bin Design Competition 2016 supports the country’s goal of becoming a “Zero Waste Nation” by helping to reduce consumption, promote recycling and encourage the reuse of materials.

Schools in Singapore have until the end of August 2016 to register and submit their entries for the competition. Further details can be found on the SEC’s website at www.sec.org.sg/sga/coca-cola-competition.php.

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