Initiatives to cut food waste and help the disadvantaged

A worker is using a machine to recycle unwanted food.
A worker is using a machine to recycle unwanted food.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

It is heartening to see that during the parliamentary debate to pass the Resource Sustainability Bill, many MPs highlighted food waste as one of the key contributors to the waste stream (New zero-waste law to compel big firms to take greater action, Sept 5).

Food waste was what stirred the founders of charity Food from the Heart to channel unsold bread from bakeries to those in need.

Sixteen years on, the Bread Run programme still redistributes surplus bread every day, saving 28,000kg of bread monthly, thanks to the collective efforts of business owners and volunteers.

We have since expanded our eco-footprint with more food waste reduction initiatives.

For example, our annual Clean Plate Campaign reaches out to schools to raise awareness of the environmental and societal impact of food waste.

Last year, we counted 41,000 clean plates among the 65 participating schools. This year, 80 schools have signed up to participate in the campaign.

We have also launched a hashtag, #cleanplatechallenge2019, to encourage students to take the message home and share with their families food waste reduction tips.

As a charity that alleviates hunger among the less fortunate through our food programmes, we are looking forward to the implementation of measures that should act as "carrots" to encourage more business owners to join us in feeding the needy through the efficient redistribution of food. Food should fill empty stomachs, not the landfill

Our Market Place programme focuses on redistributing "ugly food" from supermarkets and food distributors. It channels near-expiry products and packaging-damaged items that are still good for consumption to those who need them.

Beyond food, pre-loved toys that are still in good condition are another resource that we want to save.

From now till the end of October, toy donation drives are being organised, culminating in an annual Toy Buffet on Nov 8, where 3,000 children from disadvantaged families will be invited to attend.

Our only landfill is quickly filling up. Food from the Heart is glad that the Government is taking on climate issues with an Act that will catalyse waste reduction.

As a charity that alleviates hunger among the less fortunate through our food programmes, we are looking forward to the implementation of measures that should act as "carrots" to encourage more business owners to join us in feeding the needy through the efficient redistribution of food.

Food should fill empty stomachs, not the landfill.

Sim Bee Hia

Chief Executive Officer

Food from the Heart.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Initiatives to cut food waste and help the disadvantaged'. Print Edition | Subscribe