Do more to justify 'clean and green' label

The National Environment Agency (NEA) e-book to help retail food establishments reduce food waste is to be lauded, but there is more to be done ("Food waste: E-book's food for thought"; Tuesday).

The report states that food waste is a major concern in Singapore, with 790,000 tonnes generated last year.

Even though this figure seems intimidating, the key message ought to be that only 13 per cent of the amount generated was recycled, while the rest was simply discarded.

This percentage is astonishingly low. Surely, there are ways through which we can increase the recycling of food waste.

Addressing the issue of recycling has long been overdue in Singapore, and there seems to be an indifferent attitude about it.

We are already lagging behind many other countries when it comes to recycling efforts.

As a country often dubbed "a clean and green city", shouldn't Singapore commit itself to recycling efforts?

While food retailers have to do their part in minimising wastage, consumers have a role to play as well.

Schools should explore the possibility of educating students, from a young age, on the importance of minimising food wastage, as these lessons will likely stick with them for life.

NEA can also link up food establishments with local charities or needy homes, to which they can donate excess food.

In all, identifying the problem is the first step. If no action is taken, the problem will only worsen.

We have to start taking deliberate measures that are effective and sustainable. Perhaps then, our "clean and green city" status will be justified.

Daniel Ng Chi Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Do more to justify 'clean and green' label'. Print Edition | Subscribe