Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Food Sustainability Habits by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Food Sustainability Habits
Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment what efforts are in place to encourage food sustainability habits and reduce food wastage in our wet markets and hawker centres.
Addressing food waste is a priority for my Ministry and the National Environment Agency (NEA). We are driving nationwide efforts to reduce and recycle food waste, including at markets and hawker centres.
To encourage consumers to avoid food wastage, NEA has been running a public education campaign to promote good habits, such as buying and cooking only what you can finish, asking for smaller portions of rice or noodles, and saying “no” to side dishes that will not be consumed. Food retail establishments are encouraged to adopt best practices outlined in NEA’s Food Waste Minimisation Guidebook, such as keeping track of an inventory of ingredients to minimise overstocking, and storing food at appropriate temperatures to minimise spoilage.
Even as we seek to reduce food waste from the onset, food waste that cannot be avoided should be diverted from incineration and recycled where possible. Since 2017, all new hawker centres are installed with a food waste digester, while existing hawker centres with available space will progressively be equipped with a digester. To date, food waste digesters have been installed in 10 new and existing hawker centres, of which four are co-located with a market. Another five existing hawker centres will be equipped with a digester by this year. At these hawker centres, stallholders and cleaners segregate food waste for digestion, thereby reducing the amount of waste conveyed to our Waste-to-Energy plants as well as carbon emissions from transportation. The segregated food waste is treated on-site to produce non-potable water for general cleaning purposes or compost for use in landscaping.
NEA is also leveraging technology to close our food waste loop. As part of the Closing the Waste Loop R&D Initiative, NEA has funded projects to develop containerised on-site food waste treatment and valorisation solutions. One example is the pilot of an on-site digester at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village later this year to convert food waste into biogas. The biogas can then be used to generate electricity to supplement the power demands of the hawker centre.
My Ministry will continue to work closely with our partners to promote sustainability and reduce food wastage at our markets and hawker centres. We encourage everyone to do their part and incorporate food waste reduction practices into their daily lives.