Lendlease and WWF-Singapore report on heralding new waste management best practices at retail properties
One key barrier to improving the overall waste reduction and recycling rates in the retail sector is the lack of data on waste and reduction targets, which limits the understanding of tenant-level waste issues. Additionally, tenants may not be aware of how much waste they generate, nor are they able to compare their waste volumes with other tenants in similar categories. This study aims to close that knowledge gap, with technology as the key enabler towards waste reduction.
Charting the pathways of waste in the retail sector, the study analysed waste data from three of Lendlease’s retail malls in Singapore – 313@somerset, Jem and Parkway Parade – between 2018 and 2019, and the waste data collected by an automated waste data QR code system at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) in 2020.
It showed that the average recycling rate at Lendlease malls stood at almost 29 per cent, more than 2.5 times Singapore’s average recycling rate of 11.4 per cent. This was achieved through the malls’ efficient segregation of waste, effective monitoring of waste data as well as clear communication of tenants’ waste management obligations.
Ng Hsueh Ling, Managing Director, Singapore and Chief Investment Officer, Asia, Lendlease, commented: “At Lendlease, we recognise the fundamental challenge that waste presents to our planet and our communities. With the Singapore Green Plan 2030 announced earlier this year, concerted efforts across our tenants, waste management contractors, authorities and the public will be pivotal for the shift towards a more circular economy. Ultimately, we hope this initiative catalyses even more industry collaborations and innovative solutions towards a zero-waste nation.”
R. Raghunathan, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Singapore, commented: “We are excited to see companies put sustainability at the core of their business model. We thank Lendlease and the respective stakeholders who actively participated in the study in providing valuable insights which are vital to spur adoption of waste management innovations in the retail sector. WWF-Singapore looks forward to inspiring similar stakeholders as we advance on scalable initiatives to create a systemic change for the future.”
Key opportunities highlighted by the study include:
- Harnessing technology to better manage waste
The report findings point to an opportunity to leverage technology to improve waste management and segregation practices at malls. Malls could drive greater impact by digitising the waste collection data to trace the waste generation by retail category, allowing tenants to view their performance and set measurable targets.
For example, Lendlease introduced a QR code system at PLQ in October 2019, assigning each tenant with a unique QR code for waste disposal to improve the efficiency of recording waste data. This reduces errors arising from manual recording and saves time from having to transfer the written record into a digital copy.
Specific to the food and beverage (F&B) tenants, installing food waste monitoring systems to digitally measure and monitor what goes into the bins during the preparation of food can also help to reduce food waste and optimise procurement practices over the long term.
Other recommended solutions from the report include the installation of bin level monitors to free up time for housekeeping staff to support recycling efforts, electric trolleys that make door-to-door collection of recyclables less strenuous, and sink grinders to process food waste.
- Encouraging broader participation in waste management
From tenants to customers, mall operators play a critical role in encouraging broad-based participation in waste management initiatives.
Recommendations from the joint report include F&B tenants and malls actively encouraging customers to bring their own reusable containers or bags by providing discounts or introducing a points system to reward shoppers accordingly.
Moreover, with the support from mall operators through digitalisation of information, tenants can implement informed procedures for waste segregation.
As waste segregation is currently voluntary, authorities could consider developing a regulatory framework that allows landlords to include a waste management clause in all tenancy agreements, which could include built-in incentives for good waste reduction and recycling behaviour, without putting the retail industry at a disadvantage.
Increasing recycling rates is not the only strategy to reduce waste in the retail sector. Upstream suppliers could develop novel packaging designs with reduced material and increase the circular economy through extended producer responsibility or taking back their packaging waste for repurposing or reuse.
Further to the study, Lendlease will continue to study how solutions can be further refined and implemented at scale. This includes facilitating discussions in the retail industry on collaboration opportunities, working with the industry to highlight retail specific challenges and raise capacity on waste management, and proposing solutions with the industry and relevant government agencies and potentially conduct pilot tests.
For more information and insights from the study, visit the following link and download the report: link
Watch keynote speech delivered by the Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Sustainability and Environment, Dr. Amy Khor here: ENDS
Lendlease is an international real estate group with core expertise in shaping cities and creating strong and connected communities.
Our purpose is Together we create value through places where communities thrive.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, Lendlease has operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas, with approximately 9,500 employees internationally.
Our core capabilities are reflected in our operating segments of Development, Investments and Construction. We are known as 联实 in Chinese. For more information, please visit: www.lendlease.com
About WWF-Singapore and the PACT initiative
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We help protect Singapore’s essential needs through the actions of individuals, businesses and governments in the region. To meet key conservation goals, we address issues such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable finance, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.
Plastic ACTion (PACT) is a business initiative that aims to eliminate plastic pollution in nature and move towards a circular economy on plastics. It recognises the integral role that businesses play to solve the issues of unnecessary use of plastics and plastic pollution. PACT provides businesses with guidance, life cycle assessments, resources and best practices, enabling them to make science-based decisions to reduce their plastic footprint.