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Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Singapore

Good use of waste at old dump site

The Straits Times | Grace Chua | Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Excavators sort out construction and demolition waste at Samwoh's recycling plant at the Sarimbun Recycling Park on 25 June 2014. The waste are processed into recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) and used for road construction and production of non-structural concrete.

The first thing you notice about Sarimbun Recycling Park is the dust.

Wood dust, charcoal dust and recycled-concrete grit, kicked up by trucks and blown aloft by wind, coat every surface.

A battered truck that looks like it should be destined for scrap trundles along the potholed road and up a steep slope, while another carrying a load of tree branches and leaves resembles a rolling hedge.

There is more to the 30ha facility near the end of Lim Chu Kang Road than just dust, however. Tucked away in a north-western corner of Singapore, the industrial park's 13 plants handle a full one-quarter of Singapore's recycling.

In other words, they re-used nearly 1.2 million tonnes of the 4.8 million recycled in total. The rest is handled mainly at plants in Tuas, Jurong and Sungei Kadut.

They turn construction waste into recycled material for roads and buildings, scrap tyres into flooring, horticultural waste into compost and charcoal, and manufacturers' plastic scrap into neat sacks of plastic pellets. Thousands of tonnes of material are piled onto a hilly moonscape in each compound.

Earlier this month, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it was looking into the feasibility of a multi-storey, consolidated recycling plant at Sarimbun Recycling Park, or elsewhere in Lim Chu Kang, and would work with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and JTC Corporation on the project.

The facility is not meant to consolidate all recycling companies into a single location, an NEA spokesman said. Rather, the study aims to find out if different recycling activities can be stacked to intensify land use.

In 2030, Singapore is expected to produce 12.3 million tonnes of rubbish based on population and economic growth estimates, up from 7.9 million tonnes last year.

By then, it aims to be recycling 70 per cent of all waste produced here, up from the current 61 per cent.

While that is a good idea, said Sarimbun's current tenants, they were nervous about their own fate.

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