Singapore : A Zero Waste Country

Medium.com

Nov 11, 2022

Singapore stands out in managing the trash effectively. Trash management involves burning the trash and filtering the smoke; the resultant heat is used to generate electricity.

Over the decades, the waste industry has been quietly growing. In 2012, the world generated 1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste per year. As per EPA, the amount of “municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018 was 292.4 million tons or 4.9 pounds per person per day.” According to a 2018 World Bank report, trash generation hits 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.  If significant actions are not taken, trash is not taken, it will be one of the biggest hurdles to handle, causing pollution and trash debris in ocean and river zones, chemicals damaging aquatic life, and Oxygen can also be depleted.


Singapore stands out in managing the trash effectively. We can also consider that there is zero trash in the country. Trash management involves burning the trash and filtering the smoke.


First, all of the trash is accumulated from all garbage cans and trash bags and taken to incineration. This fire is over 1,000 degrees Celsius, almost all of the trash is burned, but a bit of ash remains. The ash is dumped in the water of the man-made island, which does not touch/ mix with ocean waters, therefore making no harmful impact.  This has created a “trash island” from repeating deposits of ash. Surprisingly, the island is very pleasant and clean. It can even sustain trees and other plants.


There are also many other methods of getting rid of an area’s trash but landfilling is very costly in terms of money and space. There is also the recycling option, but not all materials can be recycled (ex. polystyrene). Organic materials such as food and tree scraps can be composted. Out of all the options, incineration proves to be the best. Within a little time, we can easily get rid of trash by burning.


Burning causes harmful gasses and the ash that is left over. Singapore also came up with a solution to filter out the gasses and emitted air from it. Adding to this there is also a benefit,  the heat from the burned trash is then harnessed to power thousands of homes with electricity.


According to BetterMeetsReality, it costs $50 to send a ton of trash to the landfill and $65 to $75 to incinerate it. The cost might make you feel like a landfill is a better choice, but this requires more maintenance, which can also cost a lot of money. Even though burning trash may take some initial investment to build an incineration facility, dumping into safe water costs a similar amount as landfills in the long run.


Any method of trash disposal should be cost-effective and have minimal environmental impact. We believe incinerating the trash and filtering the smoke is a very good way to meet both of these requirements. The amount of trash will grow exponentially in the coming years, and inventing reliable techniques to get rid of the trash will be paramount. Singapore’s solution setsan example for the rest of the world. Along with the country's policies, it is important  for citizens to be responsible individually.  Enposs supports all the innovative ideas to support sustainable energy and environmentally friendly solutions.