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Singaporeans are learning to reduce food waste: NEA survey

SINGAPORE — The message about reducing food waste appears to be getting through to Singaporeans, a survey by the National Environment Agency (NEA) has found

Singaporeans are learning to reduce food waste: NEA survey

More Singaporeans than in 2015 are leaving no food on their plate when eating out, or they pack leftovers to take home, a new survey has found.

SINGAPORE — The message about reducing food waste appears to be getting through to Singaporeans, a survey by the National Environment Agency (NEA) has found.

When dining out, more Singaporeans than in 2015 are leaving no food on their plates and packing any leftovers to take home, and more are using the leftovers in their refrigerators, according to the survey results published on Monday (Dec 23).

A small but growing proportion of households here, 3 per cent, are also composting their food waste. Composted kitchen waste can be used as fertiliser on plants.

The survey was conducted from March to April this year and aims to better understand the perceptions, behaviours and attitudes of consumers towards food waste here. The survey involved 1,000 randomly selected household representatives and follows a similar survey conducted in 2015.

Across the board, the survey found that residents were making more of an effort to reduce food waste. The following are some of the findings:

  • 71 per cent of respondents try to use leftover ingredients in the fridge, up from 58 per cent in 2015

  • 64 per cent have no leftovers when eating out, up from 59 per cent

  • 56 per cent pack unfinished food after eating out, up from 44 per cent

  • 59 per cent cater for the expected number of guests at a function or fewer instead of more than required, up from 48 per cent

In its press release, the NEA said that the findings point to a growing awareness and action on food waste reduction.

However, it also flagged areas for improvement. About a quarter of respondents, for instance, said that they bought more than required when grocery shopping as they wanted household members to have more than enough to eat.

More than 90 per cent of respondents also indicated that they would be motivated to not waste food if it saved money and protected the environment.

Meanwhile, eight in 10 respondents said they wanted more information on how to waste less food, such as information on how to store ingredients to make them last longer and how to share excess food.

GROUND-UP EFFORTS REDUCE FOOD WASTE

The NEA said that ground-up efforts have contributed to reducing Singapore’s food waste from 809,800 tonnes in 2017 to 763,100 tonnes in 2018.

For instance, local charity Food from the Heart has redistributed surplus food to the underprivileged in Singapore through close to 200 food redistribution points.

In early 2019, the NEA launched a Towards Zero Waste Grant to support such ground-up initiatives. To date, the grant has supported 270 events and projects to help raise awareness of and drive action to reduce food waste. One of these projects is Treatsure, a mobile application that connects businesses with surplus food to consumers.

REDUCE FOOD WASTE DURING FESTIVE SEASON

The NEA said that it encourages the public to buy, order and cook just enough during this festive season to reduce leftovers.

This could be done by catering 10 to 15 per cent less than required for the number of guests expected, or opting for less rice or noodles which are some of the most commonly wasted dishes at gatherings.

For businesses, food and beverage operators can offer smaller food portion sizes while supermarkets can sell expiring food at lower prices or donate it to the needy, said the NEA.

 

Related topics

compost food waste catering environment

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