Strategies to reduce food waste

Food composting is a good way of turning our food waste into useful by-products (Students turn food waste into 'worm tea' fertiliser, ST Online; Nov 8).

However, food wastage in Singapore remains a subject of concern. In just 10 years, the amount of food waste generated increased by more than 40 per cent while the amount of food recycling has risen by just 5 per cent.

More focus can be placed on how we manage our food waste and I have three suggestions.

•First, food recycling.

One of the challenges in industrial food recycling is the high cost of separating the food from other municipal waste. To help solve this, all food and beverage establishments should be required to separate their food waste from their general waste during disposal.

On-site food recyclers can also be installed at these F&B outlets to remove the process of having to transport and dispose of them.

This will increase Singapore's overall food recycling capacity and significantly reduce the contribution of food waste to our landfills.

Imperfect food products are often thrown away because of their "ugly" appearance. Businesses should not only be encouraged to sell such produce at reduced prices, but also be disallowed from throwing them away.

•Second, reusing food waste.

A great contributor to food wastage is attributed to cosmetic filtering by food wholesalers.

Imperfect food products are often thrown away because of their "ugly" appearance. Businesses should not only be encouraged to sell such produce at reduced prices, but also be disallowed from throwing them away. Food wholesalers can work with F&B businesses to repackage and use such produce in their food preparations instead.

•Third, reducing food wastage.

In South Korea, a tax is imposed on the amount of food waste each household disposes of. Households are encouraged to reduce their food waste to save on their monthly bills.

However, implementing and regulating this in Singapore may be a challenge as most Singaporeans live in apartment blocks that have their own rubbish chutes.

The management of food waste is a shared responsibility at the individual and national level. Although a shift in mindset and behaviour is required, the Government plays an important role and should take the lead by implementing necessary policies to alleviate the problem.

Chee Guo Ee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Strategies to reduce food waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe