Project to test food waste digesters at markets

We thank Miss Lee Kay Yan for her feedback ("Turn hawker centre waste into fertiliser"; last Thursday).

Singapore generated close to 800,000 tonnes of food waste last year, and the amount of food waste generated is expected to increase with our growing population and economic activity.

More needs to be done to increase the recycling rate of food waste and help reduce our waste disposal needs.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is currently exploring cost-effective ways to convert food waste into useful products.

To test the economic viability and operational feasibility of food waste segregation and recycling in hawker centres, NEA is conducting a pilot project to install and operate food waste digesters at two markets - namely Tiong Bahru Market and Ang Mo Kio Block 628 Market - to convert segregated food waste into either water or bio-fertiliser.

The pilot project is expected to start by next month, and is one of the initiatives developed to work towards the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint's goal of Singapore becoming a zero-waste nation.

It is important to note that the best way of managing food waste is to avoid creating it in the first place.

NEA and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are working with various stakeholders to develop good practice guides for food manufacturers, food retail establishments and supermarkets to minimise food waste across the food supply chain.

NEA also encourages such establishments to donate their unsold and excess food to food distribution organisations, such as Food Bank Singapore and Food from the Heart.

Consumers, too, can play their part in avoiding food wastage by, for example, ordering only what they can consume when dining out.

Other tips for reducing food waste can be found in our online toolkit, available at

Ong Soo San
Waste and Resource Management Department
National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'Project to test food waste digesters at markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe