Singapore Companies Save $8.34M With Less Packaging

SINGAPORE, Singapore —  Since its creation in mid-July, the Singapore Packaging Agreement has grown from 32 companies, industry associations and other groups to 121 members and helped save $8.34 million through reduced packaging.

The voluntary, five-year agreement created by the National Environment Agency was originally aimed just at food and drink packaging. In Singapore, packaging accounts for one-third of domestic waste, and the bulk of that is from food. However, in late 2009, the agreement was opened up to include other industries and their packaging-reduction efforts.

The millions of dollars that companies have saved in the past three years came about through changes that cut 4,520 tonnes of packaging out of products. The agreement has focused on different types of packaging strategies, like packaging redesigns, using recycled content, switching to recyclable materials, supporting reuse and optimizing production.

Seventeen companies that signed up for the agreement received the annual 3R Packaging Awards during the Asia Sustainable Packaging Summit. Winners included Nestle Singapore, Asia Pacific Breweries, Sun Fresh, Tetra Pak Jurong, Starbucks Singapore, Wyeth Nutritionals and others.

Tetra Pak has avoided 1,654 tonnes of packaging by refining its process for making drink cartons. Nestle cut its packaging by 85 tonnes a year through numerous changes, such as removing paper cartons from its Milo powdered drink tins. And McDonald's saved $57,000 a year and reduced packaging by eight tonnes a year by shrinking the size and weight of its McFlurry spoon.

Singapore store - CC license by Flickr user toivo