Students to help turn NUS into living lab for zero-waste solutions

NUS students and recent alumni will soon be able to implement their zero-waste ideas on campus, thanks to a new initiative called Zero Waste Testbed Initiative @ South West. If successful, their ideas may even take flight to further Singapore’s agenda of reducing waste.

Launched by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment at the South West Community Development Council (SW CDC)’s annual green event “Clean Up South West”, the initiative is a collaboration between NUS, SW CDC and SembWaste Pte Ltd (SembWaste).

Besides receiving up to $10,000 per project, applicants also benefit from mentorship and evaluation expertise from all three partners, as well as guidance in project implementation and expansion. The support will enable students to pilot and refine their proof-of-concepts on the campus and eventually scale up successful projects in the wider community.

Two student projects piloted in NUS, Smart Chutes and Recycle Right Bins, were shared at the event as promising examples of how real life applications of technology, product design and behavioural insights such as visual cues could be applied to tackle challenging sustainability problems.

Minister Grace Fu noted that the university is a safe place for young students to testbed and try out their ideas -- both in terms of project initiation as well as actual operational implementation -- giving the example of the use of smart chutes at NUS Residential College.

“This is a wonderful way to make our university a living lab for new technology and bringing it down to actual practices. I am very encouraged by this Initiative and I would like to commend South West CDC, NUS and Sembcorp for coming together on this,” she said.

Said SembWaste’s Managing Director, Mr Neo Hong Keat, "SembWaste is committed to doing our part to build an environmental sustainability eco-system to help our nation move towards zero waste. We support this meaningful initiative as it nurtures a community of sustainability-conscious youths to create practical innovations towards a greener future. It is also in line with SembWaste's interest in test-bedding innovative sustainable solutions to do more to turn trash to treasure."

The initiative is indeed a unique platform for NUS students and young alumni to testbed their proof-of-concept projects on campus, noted Mr Chew Chin Huat, NUS University Campus Infrastructure’s Senior Director.

“We look forward to seeing them put into practice some of the interdisciplinary skills imbued in the NUS curricula as they come up with innovative, effective and sustainable zero-waste solutions that will benefit both the community and industry,” he said.

Visit NUS Zero Waste website for more details on the initiative which will be announced in Feb.


By the NUS Waste Minimisation and Recycling Taskforce, with support from the NUS Offices of Estate Development and Facilities Management