Get households into composting to tackle food wastage

The uncertainty in climate conditions affecting farms and crop production has made the issue of food security a cause for concern. Yet, food wastage remains a problem in Singapore, with households contributing significantly (Over $200m worth of food thrown away annually by households: Survey; Oct 17).

Currently, measures to tackle food wastage take the preventive approach, targeting food sources, such as supermarkets. For example, the National Environment Agency (NEA) together with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) launched last year a waste minimisation guidebook focusing on practices such as planning and inventory management for food retail outlets.

Yet, with food wastage numbers expected to rise with a growing population, we should not overlook approaches in dealing with food wastage on the ground.

There are currently no food recycling programmes for households, even though 77 per cent of Singaporeans admit to frequently wasting food at home. Worse, only 41 per cent take into consideration food waste despite households contributing around half of total food waste.

With more community and rooftop gardens in the works, NEA can consider installing a composter in neighbourhoods, allowing food waste from households to be put to good use (More rooftop gardens, urban farms planned; Nov 10).

This is already being done in some shopping malls, schools and hawker centres. which have an in-house composter or digester which breaks down food waste into compost and water.

Only when we are able to take responsibility for our waste, while reaping tangible benefits from recycling, will we be more receptive to waste reduction.

Cheryl Anne Ho (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2017, with the headline 'Get households into composting to tackle food wastage'. Print Edition | Subscribe