Improve recycling to reduce food waste

The increasingly high wastage of food at homes, food manufacturers, food outlets, supermarkets, restaurants and hawker centres is disturbing ("Waste not, want not"; yesterday, and "Amount of food waste here hits record high"; last Monday).

There are two critical issues that need to be looked at by the authorities: how to reduce food wastage and how to improve recycling methods so as to increase productivity, save costs, generate energy and promote an eco-friendly environment.

While monitoring and tracking food wastage is still in its infancy in Singapore, it is laudable that companies like Dairy Farm have begun to use waste monitoring systems, while some supermarkets offer discounts on perishable items to clear stock.

Other measures can also be taken, like distributing excess food to old folks' homes, charitable organisations and other deserving individuals and organisations.

It is hoped that the National Environment Agency and other organisations like the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore will look into more effective measures that will provide suitable enforcement action to minimise food wastage.

More importantly, all should be aware that with millions of people in the world struggling to have two square meals a day, it is a social crime to waste food.

Food wasted at our homes and food outlets can help alleviate hunger and poverty in other countries.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has appropriately lamented the poor public participation in recycling, leading to household food and packaging waste being incinerated and not recycled ("S'pore 'behind others' in managing waste"; last Wednesday).

It is imperative to give recycling methods greater importance in our homes and organisations. Improvement can come only through greater awareness, less apathy and more cooperation from the public in controlling waste and helping recycling efforts.