Based on NEA Waste Statistics and Overall Recycling Rate for 2017, 809,800 tonnes of food waste and 815,200 tonnes of plastic waste was generated. Both food waste and plastic waste account for more than 10% of the total waste generated in Singapore in 2017 respectively. However only 16% of the food waste and 6% of plastic waste was recycled, the rest of it was disposed at the incineration plants and then the landfill. Such action will eventually lead to 2 major environmental issues that Singapore will face in near future:
1)Semakau landfill is our only landfill left and it is expected to run out of space in near future
2)The burning of food waste results in the release of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas that has over 25 times the impact in trapping excess heat in the atmosphere as compared to Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This will increase carbon footprint and contribute to greenhouse effect and global warming in due course.
According to the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, Singapore is working towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation by reducing our consumption, reusing and recycling all materials. A national recycling rate target of 70% has been set for 2030 with an aim to increase domestic recycling rate from 20% in 2013 to 30% by 2030 and non-domestic recycling rate from 77% in 2013 to 81% by 2030.
As part of our total commitment towards waste management and sustainability effort, the purpose of doing this research project is to investigate whether food waste can be recycled and made into biodegradable plastics. First of all, chitosan will be derived from shrimp shells and be dissolved in acetic acid and lactic acid produced by probiotic fermentation of fruit and/ or vegetable waste for synthesis of biodegradable plastics.