Moving towards zero waste

The zero-waste movement has been gaining momentum in recent years. We look at some efforts by CCT and its tenants to contribute to the cause.

Green oasis at the upcoming CapitaSpring

How many of us have thrown away a single-use plastic bottle or discarded Styrofoam packaging without giving it a second thought? Now, imagine this seemingly harmless act replicated by about 7.8 billion people around the world, and what you have now is a global waste problem.

It is with the hope of ameliorating this problem that the zero-waste movement has, over the past two decades or so, steadily gained momentum over the globe, as people, businesses and governments have channelled greater efforts into eliminating waste. In 2019, the Singapore government rolled out its Zero Waste Masterplan to encourage citizens to be more environmentally conscious. The main objective? To move towards a circular economy and build a sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-resilient nation. 

The master plan aims to achieve a 70 per cent national recycling rate and a 30 per cent domestic recycling rate by 2030. As of 2018, these figures stand at 60 and 22 per cent, respectively. The master plan also detailed measures on how to address waste output before it even reaches the recycling stage — by minimising food, packaging and electrical and electronic waste. 

Educating customers is key

Islandwide, businesses are stepping up to the challenge. More and more companies have slowly adopted sustainable practices and introducing their customers to the zero-waste lifestyle. One such business is SaladStop!, located at Capital Tower and One George Street, which has since 2017 rolled out a series of green initiatives. These include switching to biodegradable straws and using greener packaging, going lidless, using eco-friendly water, composting waste and encouraging customers to use their own reusable food containers when buying food.

The efforts do not end there. SaladStop! also believes in educating customers and making recycling points more accessible. If you’ve visited its Capital Tower outlet, you’ll have noticed its recycle bins, while the One George Street store has a Green Station to encourage patrons to try their hand at waste-sorting and recycling. 

To dissuade customers from using single-use bags, SaladStop!’s One George Street (L) and Capital Tower (R) outlets have ‘borrow trees’ from which they can borrow a bag if they need one

These initiatives have certainly paid off. In 2019, the chain saved 680 kilograms of waste, thanks to 20,000 customers refusing single-use packaging by bringing their own reusable food containers, saved 60,000 bags by charging 10 cents per bag and achieved 100 per cent reduction in use of plastic straws — just to name a few of their green achievements. The company plans to launch its own plant-based packaging and set up compost systems in all its stores this year, as well as open its first plastic-free outlet and plant-based outlet by 2021.

Building greener offices

For its part, CapitaLand is committed to sustainable practices and has been proactive in rolling out its own green initiatives. According to its 2018 sustainability report, CapitaLand has recycled 6,000 tonnes of waste, and achieved a 29.8 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and a 17.6 and 20.9 per cent energy and water reduction since introducing greener practices in 2008. 

CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) properties like Six Battery Road is an iconic building for environmental sustainability. It houses a 2,000-square-metre indoor vertical garden — the first in Singapore — which features about 70 plant species. The building also has an automatic irrigation system that harvests rainwater for the garden. The irrigation pump itself uses clean energy generated by a wind turbine powered using exhaust air.

CapitaGreen's double-skin facade helps reduce glare and solar heat gaining, keeping the building cooler in Singapore's tropical climate
"Rainforest Rhapsody" is Singapore's first indoor vertical garden, populated by a rich array of more than 70 plant species

Properties like CapitaGreen and One George Street make use of effective landscaping and sky terraces to help lower the building’s natural ambient air temperature and bring nature closer to tenants. CCT properties also have high-performance glass exteriors to help reduce heat penetration and minimise energy consumption — Asia Square Tower 2, for example, uses double-glazed glass with triple lining to reduce heat. 

And come next year when it opens, the new CapitaSpring will be one of the greenest buildings in Raffles Place. The 51-storey integrated development has, as its centrepiece, a 35-metre-high Green Oasis, located 100 metres above ground and boasting amenities including jungle gyms, work pods, meeting facilities, a yoga alcove, a garden café and an amphitheatre for performances, all set within a lush botanical promenade. 

CCT also plays an active role in urging its corporate tenants to be more sustainable. One initiative is the E-Waste Collection and Recycling Programme, launched in 2016 to encourage tenants to mindfully dispose obsolete or unwanted electrical and electronic appliances, including laptops, desktops, tablets, mobile phones and printers. Electronic waste contains chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and recycling such waste helps lower the amount of toxic heavy metals in our incineration ash.

CCT’s e-waste collection points are available at Asia Square Tower 2, Capital Tower, CapitaGreen, One George Street, Raffles City Tower and Six Battery Road.

CapitaLand's Earth Hour

Join CapitaLand and participate in this year’s Earth Hour on 28 March, a worldwide movement organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), by turning off all non-essential lights.