Waste collection fees expected to rise [News]
Households in Singapore can expect to gradually pay more to have their trash collected.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said the move is aimed at uplifting the waste collection industry, which is struggling with rising operating costs while it grapples with improving service standards.
Industry players said these challenges have been made harder by government contracts that have locked in fees for the past seven to eight years, with no provision for adjustments.
With several contracts up for renewal over the next few years, the NEA, which manages the public waste collection scheme, is looking to reshape the industry.
For the purpose of waste management, Singapore is currently divided into nine sectors, served by four companies. This will be reduced to six sectors, to help companies achieve economies of scale.
Andrew Tan, CEO of the National Environment Agency, said: “This in turn will translate into greater affordability and at the same time, giving opportunities for the waste collectors to invest in the capital, in the training of their workforce and also the equipment needed to do a good job in terms of waste collection.”
Chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association, Guah Eng Hock, also pointed out that waste collection companies are required in their contracts to have a recyclable sorting facility in each sector. He said that with the larger sectors, companies will be able to enjoy greater economies of scale.
A standard waste collection fee will also be introduced.
Today, households pay as little as S$4.03 per HDB flat, or as high as S$22.50 for a landed home.
Prices also differ between estates. For example, HDB flats in the city area currently pay S$4.03, while those in Pasir-Ris and Tampines fork out S$6.87. The difference in pricing is due to separate contracts being called for each sector, subjected to open bidding.
Moving forward, all households will pay a “uniform fee” – depending on whether it is an HDB flat or landed property. The fee will be derived from the weighted average of successful tender bids submitted by public waste collectors.
The first to come under the new fee structure will be households in Pasir-Ris, Tampines and Bedok.
From July, HDB properties in those areas will pay S$7, while landed homes will pay S$23.19.
The NEA said households would have had to pay more, if the new uniformed fee structure was not applied. The new uniformed fee structure will be progressively rolled out to the rest of Singapore by 2015.
In return for higher fees, waste collection companies will have to meet higher service standards. This includes having quieter and cleaner vehicles, and responding quicker to public feedback.
Companies will also have to provide better incentive schemes to encourage households to recycle.
Singapore’s only landfill on Semakau island is currently at half its capacity, and is expected to run out of space by 2040. Thus, recycling remains a key strategy for managing waste in Singapore and the government hopes that consumers and businesses will start at the source – by sorting their recyclables from other waste.
Singapore’s recycling rate currently stands at 59 per cent – a long way from its long-term target of 70 per cent.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
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