Every year, Singapore generates hundreds of tonnes of food waste. In the last decade, food waste increased by 48 per cent from 531,500 tonnes in 2005 to 785,500 tonnes in 2015, figures from the National Environment Agency show. Last year only 13 per cent of food waste was recycled.
Non-profit charity Food from the Heart, on an ad hoc basis, collects sandwiches and cooked food and delivers them to welfare homes. One donor is restaurant LeVeL33. “Every Saturday, we collect cooked food and deliver (them) to half-way houses; we have salads, meat products, fish and some fruits as well,” said Mr Anson Quek, Executive Director of Food from the Heart.
Among its procedures, Food Bank works with external labs to test the shelf life for different cooked food samples and seeks advice from a food hygiene consultant. Certain food products cannot be redistributed, such as cut fruits, sashimi slices, and unsealed dairy products.
Ms Jo-an Choo, management associate at Food Bank, and Mr Anson Quek, Executive Director of Food from the Heart, share tips on reducing food waste:
1. Have a shopping list before you go grocery shopping so you will buy exactly what you need.
2. Do not shop on an empty stomach because there’s the tendency to impulse buy. Go after lunch or dinner.
3. Don’t buy to donate — that will not reduce wastage.
4. Request for smaller portions if you can’t finish your food.
5. Don’t overcook, just cook what you need to eat.
6. If you have a surplus of cooked food or food products, share with your neighbour. Pool your resources together — they might have products that you need.