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About half of food waste from non-domestic sources, businesses taking steps to minimise wastage

We thank Ms Wendy M Louis for her letter, “Food wastage: Time to get more businesses to do their part”; March 26).

About half of food waste from non-domestic sources, businesses taking steps to minimise wastage

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Ong Soo San, Director, Waste and Resource Management Department, National Environment Agency

We thank Ms Wendy M Louis for her letter, “Food wastage: Time to get more businesses to do their part”; March 26).

Each year, around 800,000 tonnes of food waste are generated in Singapore. Around half of this amount is generated by non-domestic sources, such as food manufacturers, food retailers, hotels and shopping malls.

We agree with Ms Louis that businesses have an important role to play in tackling this issue, for example, by efficiently using food resources and encouraging customers to not waste food.

In 2016 and 2017, the National Environment Agency (NEA) launched three Food Waste Minimisation Guidebooks for food retail establishments, supermarkets and food manufacturing establishments respectively. NEA has been actively engaging food business operators to encourage them to make use of the guidebooks.

It is heartening to see growing interest and awareness among businesses on the issue, and more initiatives by businesses to reduce food waste. For example, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort and Spa has installed a food waste tracking system to minimise wastage. Marina Bay Sands and Grand Hyatt are working with food distribution organisations to donate their excess food.

Supermarket operators such as NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong have developed and displayed within their stores, posters that remind consumers to handle food items properly to avoid food wastage. Dairy Farm Singapore has sections in their outlets where food items nearing their expiry dates are priced lower to entice customers to buy them so that they do not go to waste.

More food businesses have also been using mobile applications or web platforms, such as Treatsure and TreeDots, to sell surplus food at discounted prices.

To recognise businesses for their efforts, NEA confers 3R Awards to hotels and shopping mall operators that have gone the extra mile to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

We urge more businesses to incorporate environment-friendly practices into their operations. By taking steps to reduce waste, businesses can reinforce their brand image and lower their waste disposal costs. Businesses can also tap on NEA’s 3R Fund for the co-funding of waste minimisation projects.

We recognise that more can be done to urge businesses and individuals to continue taking steps to reduce their food waste. With everyone’s concerted efforts, we can achieve our vision of Singapore to be a zero-waste nation.

Related topics

food waste NEA environment pollution

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