Bring back eco-friendly way of managing food waste

I am glad that Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli brought attention to the issue of food wastage during a recent SGFuture dialogue ("Waste not, want not"; Monday).

Individuals and households have to play a huge part in reducing and managing food waste.

Currently, most household food waste is disposed of together with non-food waste. This is treated as garbage and incinerated, thus adding to greenhouse gas emissions and using up limited space in our landfills.

In the 1970s and before that, households put their food waste in containers to be collected by farmers, who then converted it into animal feed. This was a very eco-friendly and organic approach to managing food waste.

I hope we can bring this way of managing food waste back.

The Government can provide food waste containers to households, with separate containers for plant-based and non-plant-based food waste. These containers can then be emptied at conveniently located communal food waste bins at void decks.

The bins should be managed properly by town councils to prevent odours and pests.

Plant-based food waste can be used for composting at the community level, while non-plant-based food waste can be taken to recycling centres for further processing.

Together with a comprehensive education programme, reducing and managing food waste by households can accelerate our move towards a zero food waste nation.

Edward Lim Yew Sih

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Bring back eco-friendly way of managing food waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe