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Waste Minimization in Shopping Mall

According to the World Bank, total global waste is predicted to reach 3.40 billion tons by 2050, along with more than double population growth over the same period. Since the “excessive global waste problem” is undeniably considered the initial starting point for most environmental issues, the world is trying to find a solution to the problem. The excessive global waste problem arose directly and indirectly from our consumption behavior. Even a small country like Singapore faces similar challenges and has come up with a strategy that will help minimize waste production. IMPLEMENTING THE 3Rs

The National Environment Agency (NEA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment of the Government of Singapore, has adopted a multi-pronged waste management strategy to minimize waste production. The method is called 3Rs—a concept that focuses on maximizing the usage of resources that could help limit waste production. 3Rs stands for reduce, reuse, and recycle. “Reduce” refers to reducing waste at its source to determine the garbage that needs disposal. “Reuse” refers to reusing waste with the same or similar purpose without significant alteration to the physical form of the object or material. “Recycling” refers to transforming waste or leftover material into reusable things, which may or may not be similar to their original forms.


The Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has collaborated with various organizations to achieve this. These organizations included the people, private, and public sectors, especially shopping malls, which handle a vast number of visitors per day. Thus, piloting the 3Rs at shopping malls could help gain massive public collaborations. Although shopping malls are one of the main contributors to waste production, they can minimize waste and recycle, as shown in the following case study.


The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands has up to 800,000 square feet of retail space and 270 boutique shops and restaurants. In collaboration with the tenants, Marina Bay Sands’ property-wide Sands ECO360 global sustainability program has appointed a dedicated working team on waste management and recycling. In the office space, there is a plastic waste reduction initiative, where plastic waste dispensers are replaced by ones connected directly to the water source. In terms of food waste, initiatives have been taken to generate a hygienic donation of excess food to charity. Food waste digester machines that can treat up to a ton of food waste daily are also installed to treat food waste generated on the premises. As a result, Marina Bay Sands could divert up to 521 tons of food waste in 2016. Besides, together with the tenants, Marina Bay Sands has issued a “Green Leases” policy with a tenant fit-out manual that includes green construction guidelines. These guidelines required hoarding and construction waste to be reused and recycled. The approach is considered successful, as over 20 tons of hoarding were recycled in 2017. Beyond engaging tenants, shopping mall personnel are continuously educated about the 3Rs concept to facilitate better waste management.

Adopting the 3Rs concept has enhanced efficiency in environmental preservation, especially the reduction of waste at its source, which helps limit the need for virgin resource usage for product production. Reusing also helps minimize waste production in similar ways. While recycling helps limit the use of natural resources, waste, and the construction of disposal facilities. Lastly, a sustainable business management approach should not focus solely on profit generation alone but should consider profit, people, and the planet to bring about sustainable growth.

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