Clean Plate Campaign may extend to hawker centres in October, 65 primary schools taking part this year

Food From The Heart volunteer Charlene Teo (second from left) handing out capsule pens and stickers to students from Kong Hwa School to share the message of not wasting food and to inculcate habits of mindful eating. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
Students at Kong Hwa School were given stickers as part of the campaign. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

SINGAPORE - A campaign aimed at getting students not to waste food may be expanded to hawker centres for the first time come October.

Chief executive officer Sim Bee Hia of charity group Food from the Heart (FFTH) revealed this on Wednesday (Aug 15) at the launch of the Clean Plate Campaign, which kicked off at Kong Hwa School.

Ms Sim said FFTH will include hawker centres and corporates in the coming year, taking the campaign nationwide. She did not elaborate on the details as they are still being discussed.

Sixty-five primary schools - each with about 1,000 students - are taking part in the campaign from August to October, which aims to raise awareness of the environmental and societal impact of food waste.

The first campaign in 2013 saw five schools taking part, and the number increased to 51 last year.

FFTH's Clean Plate Ambassadors, who are volunteers, will visit the schools to share with students the message of not wasting food and to inculcate habits of mindful eating.

At each school, they will also count the empty plates from the students. At the end of the campaign, the top 10 schools with the highest numbers - or the least leftovers - will win trophies.

Last year, a total of 31,000 empty plates were recorded by the 51 participating schools. This year, FFTH aims to hit 48,000 clean plates. Each student with a clean plate would receive a pen as a token.

Mrs Cheong Ye Ling, principal of Kong Hwa School, said that they hope to teach children to order only what they can finish. It is the first time the school is taking part in the campaign.

"Children can make a request to stallholders for lesser portions, for example, ask for less rice, in order to prevent unnecessary wastage," she said.

"Habits are inculcated at a young age, and the practice of not ordering or taking too much food and finishing everything on one's plate should start in primary school."

Tricia Wong, 11, a Primary 6 pupil from Kong Hwa School who is an environmental ambassador, said she had to remind students to finish their food during her weekly recess-time patrols.

"There are a lot of people going hungry all over the world. So it's a pity to see food going to waste. It also wastes parents' hard-earned money. I would encourage my friends not to buy so much food, as it's regrettable when the food is wasted," she added.

Said Ms Sim: "We believe that the best way to use food resources effectively is to avoid unnecessary wastage, and we can start from our own plate. We are heartened by this year's response and the year-on-year increase in participation."

"We hope the campaign will encourage all of us to be mindful of our eating habits, take only the food we can finish and leave zero leftovers," she added.

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