Each Singapore household generates food waste equivalent to a 2.5kg bag of rice every week : NEA study

Singaporeans may love their food, but it looks like they are also guilty of generating excessive amounts of food waste.

In fact, half of the waste disposed by each household in Singapore is food waste.

To put things in perspective, the amount of avoidable food waste is equivalent to each household throwing away a 2.5kg bag of rice every week.

Our beloved rice, noodles and bread were found to be the most commonly wasted items, revealed the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a statement released yesterday (Dec 3) .

According to a study conducted by the agency, more than half of the food waste could have been prevented by not over-ordering, over-buying or over-cooking.

The study was conducted between November last year and this March, where representatives from 443 households were interviewed to understand the public’s sentiments on food waste management.

Waste samples were collected from 279 households over three days in a week, and sorted to determine the amount of “avoidable” and “unavoidable” food waste from each household.

More than one in four households interviewed admitted to having leftovers after a meal at least half of the time, while 24% said that they often threw away spoilt or expired food.

The were often forced to do this either because they bought too much food, or because the food items were left forgotten and hidden away at the back of their refrigerators.

Half of those surveyed said that they could have taken steps to avoid the food wastage, while slightly more than half said that having smaller food portions at supermarkets, and the offering of different food portion sizes by food retail establishments would also aid in cutting back on food wastage.

In its statement, NEA also stressed the importance of Singaporeans playing their part to reduce food wastage.

“At the current rate of waste disposal, we will require a new waste-to-energy plant to be built every seven to 10 years, and a new landfill to be built every 35 years. This is not sustainable given Singapore’s land scarcity constraints,” it said.

The amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by about 40% in the last 10 years.

In 2016 alone, the amount of food waste generated was equivalent to the weight of over 3,500 MRT trains.

At grassroots event on Sunday (Dec 3), Senior Minister of State for Health, Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor said: “Food waste is an important issue to tackle as part of our efforts to move Singapore towards our vision of a Zero Waste Nation”.

“If everyone does their part to reduce food waste, we also save on the resources needed to produce the food, as well as to dispose of it. This in turn reduces our carbon footprint”.