8 Ways You Can Contribute To Reducing Food Waste
As someone who lives just 5-minutes away from a few hawker centres but yet frequently uses food delivery services, food wastage might seem like a distant problem. Like the majority of Singaporeans living in heartland neighbourhoods, quick and affordable food was relatively accessible.
Despite importing over 90% of our food supply, which inevitably leaves Singapore vulnerable to fluctuations in global prices of food products, we still enjoy a reasonably high degree of food security.
According to the most recent survey by Global Food Security Index, Singapore ranks 1st with a score of 87.4, with Ireland and the United States trailing behind with 84.0 and 83.7 respectively. Compared to our Asian counterparts, we are doing significantly better than Japan (76.5), Malaysia (73.8) and South Korea (73.6). In fact, Singapore is the only Asian nation to make it to the top 20 on the list. Naturally, this brings about the question of — whether we really need to worry about food wastage when we can get access to a diversity of affordable food so easily?
The inevitable reality is that with such high levels of food security, also comes with high levels of food wastage. Studies have suggested that such detrimental outcomes could be motivated by a growing middle class demographic and hyper-consumption habits built within our mindsets. After all, most people are of the belief that it is always better to order more than less — especially for social occasions and gatherings — often for less-than-practical reasons.
Over the past decade, the amount of food waste generated has grown by around 20%. If this is not a worrying trend to spur further reflection and action, I fear that the various social impacts and green initiatives by various stakeholders, much like the food we purchase — will go to waste (pun intended).
The wasteful nature of overconsumption poses an immediate environmental concern, more so than in a social or moral sense. The wastage of food reflects the wastage of energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. World Wildlife Fund claims that an estimated 11% of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if we stop wasting food. Furthermore, the discarded food goes to the landfill and as a result of decomposition, produces methane — a greenhouse gas even more deleterious than carbon dioxide.
Here are 8 tips to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Spend less and procure close to expiry but still edible food
This is as straightforward as it can get, spending less on food reduces the chances of wasting food. There are many other articles that discussed the copious number of ways to save on but the surest way is to just buy less.
If you haven’t already created an account, try Savour! now for a limited period of time to get near-expiry, blemished and surplus but still perfectly edible food.
2. Learn to preserve food
One of the reasons for food wastage is due to not being able to consume the product before the expiry date, so we suggest that you preserve your food. From freezing to fermenting, there are many methods to do so, do check out homesteader Melissa Norris’s guides.
3. Repurpose excess food
If you haven’t already read our previous blogpost on ways to repurpose food, check it out here. Between Youtube and online guides, you can find yourself chipping in more to save the environment by repurposing your eatables.
One example to repurpose excess food includes eating leftovers. Besides keeping your refrigerator tidy and less cluttered, eating leftovers offers many other perks, like the added convenience of eating home and being wallet-friendly to your daily expenses.
4. Avoid over-purchase
Being conscious of our purchases, and only buying what we need goes a long way in practising a sustainable lifestyle and consumption behaviour. As Sun Tzu once mentioned, ‘if you know what you need and eat, you need not fear the results of unnecessary food wastage.’
5. Understand ‘used-by’ and ‘best before’
As explained in our previous post, ‘Used By’ dates are about ‘Safety’ while ‘Best Before’ dates are about ‘Quality’, always remember to keep an eye out for these dates, and exercise discretion before consuming.
6. Store food properly
Bearing in mind to store food in the appropriate temperatures, humidity and environment could eliminate the chances of food spoilage. So keep last night’s chicken pesto pasta well refrigerated and you can probably have it for tomorrow’s lunch.
7. Donate to food banks
Offer to donate your near-expiry, excessive canned foods to the Food Bank Singapore, instead of simply discarding it away.
8. The last resort to food wastage
If all else fails and your food ends up blemished, try composting to reduce your carbon footprint. The conversion of waste products into organic soil matter can help to restore ecological balance by using it to grow fruits and vegetables. Find out how locals did it here !
The effects of climate change have never been more pronounced than before. Do your part to reduce your carbon footprint and individual food waste by signing up for free at Savour! to shop for your next expiring, blemished and surplus food item to utilise for your meals and snacks. Visit us on our web platform now at https://www.savourapp.co/