The question of sustainability and food waste are uncomfortable in many aspects – be it the reality of actual food waste or the acknowledgment that one has to do its part to stop reduce it. The 16th of October marked the World Food Day and once again confronted us with an uncomfortable reality in form of a local survey – 77 per cent of Singaporeans waste food on a regular basis at home.
It may not sound like much, but there are more numbers that matter. It is no secret that we like to eat out – and there is nothing wrong with that. When eating at home though, we often prepare too much food. Only 32 per cent of the surveyed people prepare meals at home according to the number of people they cooking for. This results in an excess of food being prepared.
Leftovers = Waste?
However, one can argue that the excess of food can be used the next day. But only 35 per cent of the questioned people said that they actually use leftovers. 92 per cent believe other family members would use the leftovers – however have to throw the food away days later. Even worse – 29 per cent admitted that they don’t even like eating leftovers and 48 per cent usually forget about that extra food in the fridge. However, there are alternatives for the food waste at home.
The result of that is 788.600 tonnes of food waste in produced every year – according to the National Environment Agency. It is true though that restaurants are heavily contributing to the amount of food waste that is produced in Singapore. However, the survey aimed to highlight the contribution of the average household to the total of food waste.
What to do with the Shocking Numbers?
The biggest objective of the survey was to raise awareness of food waste. Around 70 per cent of the asked Singaporeans actually claim to be very passionate about food, but only a little more than a third of that group ever thinks of food waste. Although one might assume that the topic is already all around us, but it actually isn’t.
NGOs around the world and sustainability initiatives have campaigned for years to make one point – our global food system is screwed by any standard. If you have been watching any documentary on the topic or looked into it in any other way, then you will know that the global food system is build on mass consumption and produces plenty of waste on every end.
The problem with the system is that it’s a vicious circle. We consume more than we need – the industry reacts and produces cheaply more food and with lower quality – we consume more low quality food that we are less likely to treat as valuable. Being pessimistic one could say that the entire circle generates more waste than food.
The survey achieves its goal in raising awareness, but doesn’t present us with an immediate solution – simply because there isn’t one. However, the same point is emphasised again – each one of us can help towards wasting less food and live more consciously.