We held our second networking session last Thursday on the 28th September on Food Waste 101- Let's Get Facts Straight! with a cosy turn out of 41 participants representing 26 organisations with an interest in tackling food waste.
Every year, Singapore sees hundreds of thousands of tonnes of food going to waste. According to the National Environment Agency, the country wasted approximately 790,000 tonnes of food in 2014. During Chinese New Year, this further increases by up to 20 per cent.
While food wastage is inevitable, there are measures that Singaporean users (both corporate and individual ones) can take to minimise wastage. Recycling efforts is one such measure which woefully, is at only 13%! This ought to increase if national goals of 70% recycling rates are to be met with by 2030.
Economic consequences of food wastage aside what this also means is that these patterns have significant negative impacts on climate, water, land use and biodiversity. Singapore, an island city-state with limited natural resources must do everything it can to preserve these resources.
So what can my company do about it, you might wonder?
A great first step would understand the problem, the ecosystem in which it exists and learning of existing solutions and hopefully, collaborating with like-minded entities to be part of the solution to our national problem.
The panelists consist of the following:
- Mr Eugene Tay, Executive Director, Zero Waste SG
- Ms Gwyneth Fries, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future
- Mr John Ang, Chief Executive Officer, VRM Biologik
Mr Tay presented the statistics of food waste in Singapore and shared some of the initiatives and efforts that the government and companies in Singapore are implementing to reduce food wastage. Ms Fries believes that food loss should have more focus and the global best practice to reduce food wastage is to have interconnected innovative business models. Mr Ang shared from a corporate perspective on some of the solutions to reduce food wastage and the classification of food waste.
Some of the questions posed were:
1. Why do you think South and SEA has more food waste?
2. How do we solve packaging waste?
3. Is there balance that needs to be struck between packaging and food waste?
Plastics, being the biggest contributor to waste, should be looked at together with food waste to have a complete solution. Prevention of food waste is the most important and we should not wait for the governement to take action, but instead play our own part in solving this issue.