MP Pritam Singh

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied): Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is directed at Minister. This is pertaining to the Reuters report, which I think, really, was addressing the prospect of greenwashing, at least the concern of greenwashing.

I do not really have any objection to the principles behind why this initiative was carried out by Sport Singapore. I think sustainability initiatives ought to be encouraged. But my question pertains to whether Sport Singapore or MCCY made an assessment as to the conversion of sports shoes into rubber granules as being more green or more environmentally sustainable than the existing method which, as I understand also, uses this recycled tyres, for example? So, the question then is, does this initiative move the needle, or is it just a conversion of one recyclable material for another?

Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai: The short answer is yes, there was such an assessment made. And to take Mr Singh’s comparison, without overly going into technical details, the rubber density of old tyres is quite different from that of the shoes that you see and the extent to which we want a certain density at the running track, on the playgrounds, they rely better and use better the materials from the shoes, rather than old tyres.

Mr Pritam Singh: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My understanding from people in the industry is a lot of these materials are then actually compressed together – tyres are used with rubber soles as well. Because each layer of the surface of a running track is made of different materials. I would not get into the technicalities of it, of course, but I think the principle point remains with regard to ensuring that the method that SportSG adopts is actually more green and sustainable to ensure that programmes like this succeed.

Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai: I would not get into a debate over the efficacy of which material is best used for playgrounds and sports grounds and so on, but I will ensure that the point that you have raised is fed back to the relevant engineers so that they will study this.

But I will put to Mr Singh this – at the very least, this method does use the shoes as a further source of materials, when the shoes would otherwise be disposed of. So, if nothing else, this facility, the grinding facility, provides an additional avenue for waste material. And I have said earlier in my answer, the number of shoes that are discarded, provides an avenue for these shoes to be reused in public infrastructure facilities.

Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
20 March 2023

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