Thinking Out Of the Recycling Box | Speeding Up Our Paper Recycling Rates!

20 Sep 2021


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Last year, Singapore’s overall recycling rate fell to a 10-year low of 52%, down from 59% in 2019.

Most alarmingly, the largest drop in the rate of recycling rate for paper and cardboard, which declined from 44% in 2019 to 38% last year. The National Environment Agency (NEA) attributed this to the halting of the familiar karang guni trade (the city’s informal door-to-door collectors of recyclables) and the suspension of the Cash-for-Trash scheme amid the pandemic.

Bird’s eye view of Semakau landfill site. Image: National Environment Agency


The country’s one and only landfill site, Semakau, is expected to be completely filled in 15 years based on our current waste generation rate. As such, we must think out of the (recycling) box for more ways to increase our recycling rates, while reducing our carbon footprint.

As asset managers of One Raffles Quay (ORQ) and Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), which together comprise approximately 4.5 million square feet of office space, paper comprises one of the largest components of recyclable waste generated from the portfolio.

To this end, RQAM is pleased to announce the launch of Eco Smart Paper Recycling Machines as a pilot project to bring together By The Bay tenants in a collective effort to recycle paper in a convenient, efficient way.

Going beyond the traditional recycling bins that we are familiar with, an AI-driven waste management system powers the Eco Smart Paper Recycling Machine. A modular paper compressor in the machine reduces space constraints and maximises its collection volume. The vendor can remotely monitor the amount of paper waste collected in real-time and be alerted to when hardware maintenance is required. Collection trips are activated only when its built-in sensor notifies that it has reached 80% capacity. Collectively, these features allow for a more efficient workflow, man-hour optimisation, and an overall reduction in our environmental footprint.

The Eco Smart Paper Recycling Machines, located at the bin centers at the basement of each office tower, were rolled out in July 2021.

An AI-driven waste management system powers the Eco Smart Paper Recycling Machine. Image

By signing up as a corporate exercise, tenants will receive a unique QR and account code to log in to their account, track contributions, and be rewarded for their recycling efforts.

Reward points will be awarded for every 100 g of paper waste collected. These reward points can then be redeemed for cash via PayLah/PayNow or FAST bank transfer. As an added charitable effort, tenants can also choose to give back to the community by donating it to their charity of choice – a win-win situation for everyone!


In July alone, we collected close to 3000 kg of paper waste. This translates to the equivalent of saving 51 trees! With these encouraging results, we hope more tenants will participate in the initiative to save even more trees by the end of the year.

If you or your company at By The Bay would like to find out more and participate in this paper recycling effort as a corporate exercise please contact us at: