Singapore Budget 2015: Two trials to start this year to get people to recycle food waste

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be embarking on two pilot programmes this year to encourage more people to recycle their food waste, said Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu on Wednesday.

Two hawker centres here will get one food waste recycling machine each to convert their food waste and leftover food into compost and water

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will teach the hawkers and cleaners how to segregate the food waste properly so it can be recycled. The trial will last two years and the centres will be announced later.

The Government will also start a district-level food-waste pilot programme at Clementi, said Ms Fu, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, in Parliament.

This will help the Government to see whether it is economically viable to collect the food-waste from shopping malls, schools, hospitals, office buildings and other places, and treat all of the waste off-site at a centralised recycling facility.

Clementi was chosen as it is near the Ulu Pandan Water Reclamation Plant, where the food waste will be recycled. The pilot will look at the feasibility of recovering energy from both food waste and used-water sludge at the plant.

About 788,600 tonnes of food were thrown away last year, an increase of 48 per cent over the past 10 years. Food waste now accounts for about 10 per cent of all waste in Singapore, but just 13 per cent of it is recycled.

Last year, the NEA and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore also commissioned a survey to find out people's perceptions, behaviour and attitudes towards food wastage. The agencies will study the results when they are ready, and also use the findings to refine strategies to get people to reduce their food waste.