Singapore Hawker Centre Reuse programme saves almost 10,000 disposable containers from landfill, reducing 1.2 tonnes of carbon emissions
SINGAPORE, 1st December 2023 – It is estimated that Singaporeans throw away 200,000 tonnes of packaging waste every year (Reducing Our Use of Disposables, 2022), almost all of this goes to landfill. With support from the SG Eco Fund, Muuse, a platform for smart returnable packaging, has partnered with Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub, managed by Kopitiam, part of the FairPrice Group, to provide a closed-loop reusable container system to reduce single-use waste from landfill.
Muuse today announces the results of its first container rental system pilot at a hawker centre in Singapore, with almost 10,000 reusable containers borrowed since the programme began in November 2022, and carbon emission savings of 80% by transitioning away from disposable takeaway packaging. Muuse worked directly with eight hawker stalls and provided a centralised collection point to test the appetite for reusables in a limited initial rollout.
Over a 10-month period, 608 unique users borrowed 9,608 reusable containers, diverting single-use packaging from waste, which otherwise would have ended up in landfill.
Since its inception in November 2022, the pilot has showcased the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions derived from disposable packaging. The programme was found to have directly saved 1.2 t CO2-e, equivalent to driving 7,000km. (Analysis provided by Unravel Carbon, a decarbonisation platform, headquartered in Singapore).
The analysis further showed that, if all takeaway meals were provided in reusable packaging across the whole hawker centre, then emission savings could reach 21 t CO2-e per year, equivalent to 10 single trip flights from Singapore to Toronto. The scalability potential across the region is vast.
Marc Allen, Chief Sustainability Officer and Co-founder of Unravel Carbon, said “It’s a great result to be able to quantify the emissions impact of reusables and demonstrate that there are tangible benefits from a climate point of view, in addition to those benefits that come from Muuse’s work in circularity efforts.”
With the objective of keeping it simple and smart, all containers were tracked using the Muuse smart platform. Consumers at the Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub borrowed reusable containers for free with the Muuse mobile application. Available at the manned Muuse Booth and at eight participating stalls at the hawker centres, each reusable container is tagged with a unique serialised QR code, which customers scan to borrow.
Loh Chen Long, a hawker at the Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub sharing his experience mentioned that, “Initially it was quite a transition from what we’re used to, however using Muuse’s reusable containers in my hawker stall has been a great experience. We try to lead by example in reducing single-use packaging and my customers have been pushing for it too. For me, it’s more than just serving a meal; it’s also about contributing to a cleaner and greener environment for the next generations to come.”
Customers had 30 days to return their reusable containers to return points located in the hawker centre for cleaning and sanitisation by a professional cleaning partner in line with food-safe cleaning standards.
Halal reusable containers were also provided with a separate return point and washing system to maintain Halal standards.
Muuse platform tracking showed that 99% of containers were returned throughout the programme, enabling reusable containers to be used over and over again.
In this light, Muuse is also proud to unveil an in-depth case study that intricately details the impact of the project. It is a testament of Muuse’s commitment towards transparency and accountability in delivering solutions for wicked environmental problems. Explore the case study here.
Sharing his vision to eliminate single use packaging, Jonathan Tostevin, CEO of Muuse, states, “We envision a world where reuse is not just a choice but a seamless and effortless norm. Together, we’re meticulously crafting every aspect of convenience in reuse — from our innovative products and user-friendly app to the intricacies of logistics and operations. Through this pilot, it’s clear that Singaporeans are ready for reuse. We’re pleased to see tangible results in reduction of waste to landfill and carbon emissions in a hawker centre. We hope models like these can be applied elsewhere in the country and across the region, helping us transition to a more sustainable economy.”
Muuse plans to expand this platform to other hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops across Singapore, to help Singapore hit its Green Plan target of reducing the amount of waste to landfill per capita per day by 30% by 2030.
Muuse, which stands for ‘multiple use’, aims to eliminate single-use waste through trusted, data-driven reuse systems. Muuse has diverted over 200,000 single-use items from landfill with large-scale events and festivals, projects with corporates and universities, and cafe networks across Asia and North America. With its headquarters in Singapore’s ever-growing tech landscape, Muuse also provides a flexible, traceable, software platform to allow MNCs and municipal authorities to build and scale their own reuse systems.
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For more details on the project, explore the case study here