New Campaign to Reduce Food Waste in Singapore
Educating individuals and businesses on the impacts of food waste and helping them take action
Singapore, 5 Nov 2012 – Save Food Cut Waste is the first campaign in Singapore targeting the reduction of food waste. It is a ground-up movement educating individuals, businesses and organisations in Singapore about the environmental and social impacts of food waste, and encouraging everyone to take action in reducing food waste.
Impacts of Food Waste
According to the Global Food Losses and Food Waste report published in 2011 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 1.3 billion tonnes or one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from production to consumption.
Food that is wasted has several environmental, financial and social impacts. Food waste leads to a waste of resources used in food production and distribution, including land, water, energy, fertilisers, pesticides, labour and capital. Food waste disposal in landfills also produces methane, which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and contributes to climate change. More importantly, the food wasted could be used to feed the poor and the nearly one billion malnourished people in the world.
Food Waste in Singapore
In Singapore, food waste is created every day from our food cycle – production, distribution, retail to consumption, and the wastage is unfortunately due to several reasons, such as food spoilage due to improper storage or handling, edible food thrown away because it does not look nice or has ‘expired’, food discards or leftovers during cooking or consumption.
Food waste is generated from our food manufacturers, food distributors, food retailers, wet markets, supermarkets, hawker centres, restaurants, food courts, caterers, and our homes. In fact, Singapore threw away about 0.68 million tonnes of food waste in 2011 and only 10% was recycled. This means on average, each person in Singapore generated about 130kg of food waste a year.
The recycling rate for food waste has dropped from 16% in 2010 to 10% in 2011. So far, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has not initiated any campaigns on reducing or recycling food waste. As such, the food waste recycling rate would remain low over the next few years, and NEA is likely to miss its target of 30% recycling rate for food waste by 2012, set in the Singapore Green Plan 2012.
Tackling Food Waste
To tackle the problem of food waste in Singapore, the first phase of the Save Food Cut Waste campaign aims to educate individuals and households by raising awareness that the problem exists and providing practical tips for everyone to start reducing food waste along our food cycle:
- Grow and Buy – Food production, distribution and purchasing
- Cook and Eat – Food preparation and consumption
- Give and Recycle – Food disposal, redistribution and recycling
Mr Eugene Tay, Co-organiser of Save Food Cut Waste, shares: “Everyone in Singapore loves food! We spend much of our time enjoying delicious food and finding the best makan places in this food paradise. But there’s more to food than just eating. If we love our food, then perhaps we should not waste the food that we get to enjoy every day. We hope that everyone can start to be more conscious about food wastage and take action to reduce food waste in our daily lives and at home.”
The campaign website shares the following 8 tips for individuals and households:
Learn About Food Sources – Learn about where your food comes from and understand how farmers toil to produce your food. This would help you better appreciate the food you eat and thus waste less food.
Grow Your Own Food – Grow your own food in Singapore to better appreciate your food and waste less. This would also help to reduce the food wastage during transportation and storage, the resources spent, and carbon emissions generated from importing food.
Plan What To Buy – Before you go shopping for food, plan what to buy using a shopping list. This would help you avoid buying more food than you need.
Store And Handle Food Properly – Store and handle your food properly at home to help you keep food longer without spoilage, and thus reduce food wastage.
Cook And Order Just Enough – Choose the right food portions and cook just enough food. Also order just enough food, thus avoiding food waste and saving money.
Cook Your Leftover Food – Keep and cook your leftover food instead of throwing them away, thus helping to reduce food wastage at home.
Start Food Composting – Try composting your fruit and vegetable scraps at home or in the community garden, and produce compost for gardening.
Make Garbage Enzyme – Make garbage enzyme from your fruit and vegetable scraps, and use it for cleaning purposes.
The second phase of the Save Food Cut Waste campaign next year aims to explore how businesses and organisations can play their part in reducing food waste.