FAQ

Frequently and Unfrequently asked questions! Got a question, use our feedback form

Freecycling

To freecycle means to offer it to others rather than throw it away. The purpose of freecycling is to extend the life of things that have been previously used by giving them away to other people for free.

We prefer to avoid the term blessing which has religious connotations that not everyone can identify with. Likewise the term donation tends to refer to giving things to a charity whereas freecycling simply means to give stuff away to anyone.

Using Recyclopedia.sg

Please use the search function in the top right menu bar. Otherwise you can browse to see the listings. Note that we are a reference website. We do collect, buy, or sell items nor do we have a platform to facilitate donations. 

No. Recyclopedia.sg is a reference website. We do not do collections.  
If you want to know what to do with your unwanted items, please search the site.
Need help on finding a removal service? Read this

No. Recyclopedia.sg is a reference website. We may link to selling or freecycling platforms but we do not provide that service. Please search the website and check out all the resources we list under Online Communities and Apps.

At the moment, Recyclopedia.sg does not have sponsored content. If you think your business is suitable to be listed in this directory, drop us a message here or send an email to [email protected].

While we may eventually include some sponsored content, our priority is to remain a trusted reference. So unless we strongly believe that a business plays an important Zero Waste role in Singapore, we will not include the business at any price! Sorry not sorry! 

Note that if we ever include sponsored content, the advertising status will be clearly marked on the record.

We are always looking for ways to improve and enhance our site, and we would love to see a Singapore-focused version that utilizes AI image recognition. However, we currently don't have the resources to develop this feature ourselves. 

While AI image recognition for recycling information has been attempted in other countries, it has yet to be implemented successfully.

If this is something you are interested in pursuing, we would be happy to help connect you with others who might be interested in collaborating on this project. However, we cannot commit to working on this project at this time due to limited bandwidth.

Content on Recyclopedia.sg

Firstly, the charity must have a need for second hand items. Recyclopedia is focused on placing unwanted items. Many charities only want new items in which case they will not be listed here. 

Likewise, the charity should have clear information online about what they need and how donors can go about donating. Sites that simply say “contact us to find out what we need” without any guidance are not included. We do not want to waste our users time nor do we want charities to be bombarded by unnecessary requests.

If you think a charity should be included here that meets these requirements, contact us with a link to where the relevant information may be found online. Thanks.

Yes! The item popularity rankings are updated HOURLY. Sorry if you don't see it update immediately! 

Listings of Items are sorted by popularity (ie most visits). Other listings are in alphabetical order.

Textile Recycling Bins by Cloop & Life Line

Recyclopedia.sg is NOT Cloop! 

If you want to enquire about getting a Cloop Bin, please contact them directly at their website or by email.

Please see the link to the map on the Cloop Life Line Bins page.

Contact 3159 5141 if the bin is full. Call operation hours: 8.00am - 5.30pm (Monday-Friday) & 8.00am - 1.00pm (Saturday)

Alternatively, PM @cloop.sg on IG anytime to let them know.

Do not leave clothes outside the bin. They may be damaged by rain or removed by the town council. Wet clothes cannot be recycled! Please return later or find the next nearest bin.

The bin operators endeavour to clear bins regularly and when they are full. However this is not always possible especially during peak times (eg spring cleaning) and long weekends.

 

Volunteering & Contributions

You can help us by

We also welcome sponsorships that do not present any conflicts of interest. If you're interested in supporting us financially, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Tips & Suggestions

Crafting with waste material is fun and creative. But it is not a long term solution to dealing with waste. On Recyclopedia.sg, our tips and suggestions are focused on ideas that can be done repeatedly and will reduce your need to buy stuff. These are suggestions for regular Zero Waste practices as opposed to one-off projects. 

Example: 

  • Making a pencil holder out of an old tin can? Upcycling! You cannot do this with every can the comes into your life!
  • Reusing napkins to wipe up oily pans in the kitchen? ZW habit! You can do this repeatedly leading to less need for paper towels.

If you are interested in upcycling and crafting, check out Upcycle Crafts and Inspiration SG Facebook Group.

We're not usually fans of in-store recycling programmes which are often just for marketing. Generally speaking, when take-back programme offer vouchers toward future purchases, they are not so interested in waste reduction: they are interested in selling more stuff. 

In case you hadn't noticed, we're all about REDUCE around here!

Yes recycling and selling are not mutually exclusive. So we make an effort to try learn more about what happens to goods dropped off at bins in stores. 

Often, the story is not good. Clothes are dumped. Unrecyclable plastics are tipped into the blue bin. Oily unrecyclable tubes are discarded or wrongly put in the recycling bin.

Sometimes companies have excellent recycling programmes in their home country, but in Asia they don't have the logistics to carry out proper recycling but keep the pretense up for show. There's a word for that: greenwashing. 

Bottom line is that unless we find good information and transparency about a company's local ability to recycle under such programmes, we avoid them.

No. The paper recyclers are able to handle small contaminants like stapled paper and plastic windows in envelopes. Although organisations like Tzu Chi go the extra mile to remove these things, it is not necessary and paper will still get recycled even if they are not removed.

The National Recycling System

In Singapore, saying you are putting something in “the blue bin” means you are sending it for recycling… Saying that, not all recycling bins are blue! 

The blue bins are provided by public waste collectors “PWC”. The PWCs are under contract from NEA to remove rubbish and collect recyclables from designated geographical areas. You find them in HDBs, landed residential property, and some private and commercial buildings.

The blue bins are for “comingled” recycling meaning multiple materials (paper, metal, plastic, glass) can go into one bin.

 

Use of the segregated bins requires you to sort your recycling before disposing of it. There are typically 3 bins: paper, glass & plastic, and metal. However different locations my have different categories. Often there is no glass bin, or there may be other special bins for, say, tetrapacks or soft drink bottles.

Segregated bins are usually provided when a building has arranged for their waste to be collected by a General Waste Collector ("GWC"). These are private companies that are smaller than the big Public Waste Collectors. These companies may not have the sorting facilities of the big PWCs so they required the recycables to be pre-sorted before collection hence the use of segregated bins.

Read more here.

You have probably seen amazing videos of Japanese villagers lovingly separating their waste into 45 categories and producing almost no trash. And it is true that systems where all recyclables are put into a single bin (known as Single Stream Recycling or commingled recycling) tend to have lower recycling rates because of contamination and difficulties in the sorting process.

Segregated recycling (where households have to sort the materials themselves), however, is far more expensive to maintain: it requires more bins, more trucks, more labour, and overall more complex logistics. It also requires a lot of public education.

It would be very costly at this stage to change systems and the potential for an increase in recycling rates is likely small compared to the huge cost it would require to change systems. So for now, the focus is on making the existing system work better. 

There are some cases where NEA guidelines indicate an item can go in a blue bin and yet Recyclopedia indicates the opposite. 

Why? For a handful of items, the chance of them getting recycled via the blue bin is so low or non-existent that we recommend avoiding blue bins altogether. This may include just throwing it in the trash!

To get a more accurate picture of the difference between what is “technically recyclable” and what is “actually recycled,” we speak to operators in the recycling industry. We also monitor industry reports, market news, and prices.

But why would NEA say something could go in a blue bin if it doesn't get recycled in practice?

This is not a “wayang”! There is some history to this difference in approach that should be understood.

The blue bin recycling system was set up in 2014 when market conditions for waste materials were very different, particularly for plastics. Since then, China has stopped accepting virtually all plastic waste. This means that many of the plastics which were “recyclable” (or at least exportable) a decade ago are no longer recyclable today. 

Blue bin guidelines do not reflect market conditions. NEA's goal is to inform people of what is technically recyclable, but what is actually recycled depends on a number of factors, including market conditions. From their perspective, those materials may get recycled again one day if market conditions change or new technology comes along. They may be concerned (we are guessing) that if they revise the info they provide to the public, they may need to change it back one day.

Recyclopedia, on the other hand, takes a different approach. 

Firstly, we don't believe those conditions are going to change or if they do, it will take a very long time. For many of these plastics, the recycling market is not going to return for the foreseeable future.

We believe that if a material is not recycled in practice, it is a waste of time and effort for people to put it in a recycling bin: 

  • it's a waste of energy and water to wash and dry dirty containers that won't get recycled 
  • likewise, these items are a burden on the recycling infrastructure (trucking it around and sorting it at the MRF): we call this latter burden “taking the long road to the incinerator.”

There is another more philosophical reason for this position: we believe delusions about recycling discourage people from being more considerate consumers. It's like greenwashing ourselves. 

Consumers who want to make the most sustainable buying choices need to have accurate info on whether something they buy can actually be recycled. Unfortunately many people believe there is a recycling fairy that will make all their purchases sustainable and environmentally friendly. So at the very least, consumer should not be deluded and left “feeling good” about putting items in the blue bin which are destined to be incinerated.

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