Food waste reduction in Singapore

Doing online research regarding the food waste recycling in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, is one of my major task during the industrial attachment in NEA. I am here to share with you my research result.

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According to the studies from Taiwan, food waste compromises one-third of household waste by weight. But no similar research is done in Singapore. So, we assume that the fact in Taiwan applies in Singapore, due to similar food culture. Besides, in Singapore Packaging Agreement, it shows that packaging waste occupies one-third of household waste.

Therefore, we can deduce that about one-third of residential waste is food waste, another one-third is packaging waste, and the rest one-third is non-packaging waste.

Normally, we can recycle all packaging wastes, if they are clean (free of food waste). So, Singapore has launched National Recycling Programme since 2001 to target on this one-third of packaging. The next step to increase the overall recycling rate, without any doubt, is to target on food waste. That is why Taiwan media describes food waste recycling as “the second revolution of green movement” when Taiwan EPA (Environment Protection Agency) launched this national programme in 2006.

How to increase the recycling rate? It can be done by two ways: first, to increase the recycled food waste through recycling; second, to reduce the total food waste produced by reduce and reuse.

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We can focus on the first approach: how to reduce food waste.

This is the comparison between Singapore and other Asian countries.

Country

Korea (2005)

Japan
(2007)

Taiwan (2008)

Singapore (2008)

Annual Food Waste Generated (ton)

4,755,220

20,000,000

1,899,379

568,000

Daily Food Waste Generated (ton/d)

13,028

54,795

5,190

1,556

Annual Food waste recycled (ton)

4,469,907

4,000,000

691374

68000

Daily Food waste recycled (ton/d)

12,246

10,956

1,889

186

Food waste recycling rate, %

94

20

36

12

Population (million)

48

127

23

5

Daily Food Waste Generated per capita(kg/d/ca)

0.27

0.43

0.23

0.31

Daily Food Waste Recycled per capita(kg/d/ca)

0.26

0.09

0.08

0.04

The food waste generation of Singapore (per day per capita) is the second highest among the four countries and the lowest in food waste recycling.

Why do we waste so much food? I reckon that it may be due to the low food disposal cost. We only waste 2 cents everyday for waste food. 2 cents can be round off to zero in Singapore’s context.

 

In term of 1000kg = S$77 incinerated disposal fee

Year

Cost of food waste wasted (S$ million per year)

Cost of food waste wasted (S$ per day)

Cost of food waste wasted per capita (S$ per ca per year)

Cost of food waste wasted per capita (S$ per ca per day)

1996

82.0

224,671.2

17.8

0.05

1997

83.5

228,890.4

18.2

0.05

1998

84.9

232,645.5

18.5

0.05

1999

83.4

228,574.0

18.1

0.05

2000

83.3

228,194.2

18.1

0.05

2001

38.9

106,557.9

8.5

0.02

2002

38.1

104,361.4

8.3

0.02

2003

39.7

108,664.9

8.6

0.02

2004

38.5

105,479.5

8.4

0.02

2005

38.1

104,424.7

8.3

0.02

2006

38.3

105,057.5

8.3

0.02

2007

39.1

107,103.8

8.5

0.02

2008

38.5

105,479.5

8.4

0.02

But when we convert the incineration fee to the price of rice (as rice is our main food source), the outcome will be totally different.

In term of 1kg of rice = S$1.50

Cost of food waste wasted (S$ million per year)

Cost of food waste wasted (S$ per day)

Cost of food waste wasted per capita (S$ per ca per year)

Cost of food waste wasted per capita (S$ per ca per day)

1,597.5

4,376,712.3

347.3

1.0

1,627.5

4,458,904.1

353.8

1.0

1,654.2

4,532,054.8

359.6

1.0

1,625.3

4,452,739.7

353.3

1.0

1,622.6

4,445,342.5

352.7

1.0

757.7

2,075,802.7

164.7

0.5

742.1

2,033,013.7

161.3

0.4

772.7

2,116,849.3

168.0

0.5

750.0

2,054,794.5

163.0

0.4

742.5

2,034,246.6

161.4

0.4

747.0

2,046,575.3

162.4

0.4

761.6

2,086,438.4

165.6

0.5

750.0

2,054,794.5

163.0

0.4

We waste 40 cents per day per person, 20 times more than the disposal fee.

However, the calculation above is just estimation. Research has to done like what UK did, and the WRAP found out that: in UK, everyone throws one-third of food which they buy! Unbelievable!

lovefoodhatewaste

Food is the gift from the Nature. It is the natural medicine and keeps us healthy. Don’t waste it!

 

26 thoughts on “Food waste reduction in Singapore

  1. In term of 1kg of rice = S$1.50

    The mass of food waste X S$1.50 per kg = the cost of food waste in term of price rice.

    The mass of food waste X S$0.077 per kg = the cost of food waste in term of incineration price.

  2. may i know where did you get the statistics of comparison between Singapore and other Asian countries? I’m currently doing a project on this. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hihi, can you give me your email address by contact me through Facebook. Find: Bernard Ng Jia Han, or click the link in “My Other Link”.

      I also don’t want to reveal my email address here too!

  3. Hello Bernard, I’m currently doing a project on food wastage in Singapore. Is it possible to tell me the sources of your statistics? Thank you very much!

      1. Thank you for the fast reply.🙂

        I was actually wondering about the statistics of all 3 of your tables.

        Also, I understand that food wastage is a problem in Singapore,but do you think it is significant enough for the government to do something about it?😀

  4. Oh. The three table. The first one, I get those information online. It is hard to get the latest information of Japan and Korea, as most of them are in Japanese and Korean. Then, the last two table is just computed by using this conversion rate: 1000kg = S$77 incinerated disposal fee (first) and 1kg of rice = S$1.50(second). The comparison of second and third table show that the charging of Singapore government towards food waste is too low. (20 times lower than the rice price)

    Indeed, there are something that NEA can do for food minimization, like what Taiwan is doing several years ago. Due to the different social context, NEA is still considering the feasibility of those measure in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. However, when I was a intern in NEA, I proposed to setup a website to teach every Singaporean how to minimize waste like what UK is doing right now. I think it is feasible, or some NGO can start to setup this website will be even better!

    1. Thank you for the statistics🙂

      but what I wonder since compared to japan, Korea, Taiwan and uk, Singapore is very small. So I wonder if nea feels that the food wastage here is significant enough for them to do smthn.:/ do you thin. only 20% of the waste is food.. I feel that it is somewhat significant but I’m not sure how nea or the sg govt think:/

      Thank you ^^

      1. You are right that Singapore is small by comparing to them. Hong Kong and Macau are good comparisons, but they did not do better than Singapore. The aim of food recycling rate in 2012 in Singpaore green plan 2012 is 30%. But the stat of 2008 is only 12%, 2009 one I am not so sure.

        20% is significant.Enzyme making is one of the method that every Singaporean can try out. It can reduce the food waste production, indirectly push up the food recycling rate. My future project will involve in food waste recycling~ So, you wait and see, haha.

    2. Actually I am a student (Jess xD) from dunman high school and we’re doing project work for a levels. and our project is on reducing food wastage!🙂 Would it be okay if we inteview you or smthn? :O

      I will send an email to your email (if you do have one) to state the details if you’re fine with it.🙂 we sincerely hope that you are willing to be involved in our project!🙂

  5. Hello 😀
    We are currently doing our project work too. It’s about food wastage too. Can we actually do an interview with you too?
    It would be deeply appreciated if you could take some time to help us.It would greatly beneficial to our study.😀

  6. I am organising a campaign to discourage food wastage, do you think it is possible that you help me feature it on your blog so I can reach out to more people?

    Regards
    Andy Tay

  7. Hi,

    Will you be able to feature my campaign on your blog/ facebook and create a link to my facebook page?

    Hopefully, this will encourage more people to be aware of food wastage in Singapore.

    Regards
    Andy Tay

  8. I am Andy, the team leader for the Contentious Food Culinary Competition. The briefing session for the students are done and they have up till 23rd of June to upload photos of their preparation like experimental dishes.

    I feel that it is TIME to start publicity. =)

    Perhaps you can consider using what I have done up. Can you provide me with an email so that I can send you what I have done up? This is what I have done up:

    Contentious Food Project is a youth-led initiative that aims to discourage food wastage and to advocate healthy eating.

    Due to the affluent nature of the Singapore society, many people have no qualms wasting food. This is a very negative culture amidst the starvation problems that plague our counterparts in developing countries.

    Another food related problem in Singapore will be the unhealthy diet that many of our people are choosing. The mushroom of fast food restaurants and fast pace of lives have led to many switching to unhealthy convenience food.

    Contentious Food Project aims to educate our people, especially youths who are generally more impressionable, that they should cherish their food and make healthy food selection.

    This project will be conducted in the form of a culinary competition involving 8 teams from different schools.

    After the competition, various publicity tools such as presentation and booths will be set up to spread the objectives of the project.

    Come and join our movement to fight food wastage and unhealthy eating today.

    More details can be found at http://www.facebook.com/ContentiousFood2011. Take part in our quiz and you stand a chance to win ATTRACTIVE prizes!

    Is it possible that this publicity be a progressive one like once I have information that I wish to share with the people, I will inform you?

    Thanks!

  9. Hi I am master degree student working on a project on food waste and waste charging. I have to investigate the relationship among them. As I was doing research, I found your site. I am just wondering the statistics about the comparison of Asian countries you posted. When and Where did you find them and do you think there is a positive relationship between waste charging and food waste recycling rate? Thank you very much and have a great new year!

  10. As you said you did the online research is one of your major task during the industrial attachment in NEA.

    Did your work get published or paper posted on internet so I could get access to with references that I can put into my project. As I need to reference your work but definitely not a blog piece because this is not academical enough. I hope you know what I mean, no offence!

  11. hi! I’m doing a project on food wastage and i was wondering if you could give me any useful websites for wastage of food in singapore restaurants? thank you!

  12. Hi, I am doing a project on wastage of food, specifically on rice. Do you have any link to statistics that you can share with me? Thx.

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