Food waste is one of the biggest waste streams in Singapore, accounting for about 11 percent of the total waste generated. But what can be done to minimise food wastage?
Here’s the thing – we can all agree that most of us don’t give too much thought to how much food waste we create daily. We constantly search for great family-friendly dining options, only to think nothing of leaving the discarded free kids’ meals because they were, well, free. Going to the supermarket to stock up on our fave goodies is taken for granted, and the odd splurge on a spiffy champagne brunch is a given. We are SO lucky.
And yet, there are over 842 million people in this world who are chronically undernourished, while a further 2 billion are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies. A startling statistic made all the more shocking by the fact that 1.3 billion tonnes of unconsumed food are wasted each year. Plus, the Covid-19 pandemic has not made things any easier in terms of world hunger and food wastage. This is a HUGE global issue, but as with saving the planet, reducing plastic waste and doing our bit to conserve water, if we fortunate souls ALL make small changes, collectively we can absolutely make a difference.
In a country as passionate about food as Singapore, it’s high time we talked about the major problem of food waste. Here on the Little Red Dot, around 750 million kilograms of food goes to waste each year – that’s equivalent to two bowls of rice per person each day! Meat, fruit, veggies, all in the bin. But what’s the solution? Here’s how we can stop food waste and start donating excess to The Food Bank.
How to stop food waste in Singapore
1. Love your leftovers
Portion control is key when it comes to cooking up a storm in the kitchen. We’re all cooking too much food in the first place, and we’re guilty of throwing away perfectly good leftovers. Extra roast chicken, for example, can be turned into a fresh, healthy salad or sandwiches for the family the next day (try this great recipe for an easy roast chicken salad). We all need to start getting inventive with our leftovers rather than stuffing them in the fridge with vague good intentions that’ll eventually turn into a pungent out-of-date smell. And don’t forget that the freezer can be your best friend. Freeze it, people!
2. It’s all in the planning
Plan and get portion control sussed. If you’re a family of five, don’t cook for a family of 20! If we all cooked what we needed for those at the dinner table, as opposed to over-catering, not only would we save money, but we’d also see a whole lot less food waste going into landfills each month.
3. Head to The Food Bank Singapore
Those rows of tins and dried goods you have stockpiled in the cupboards? It’s time to donate them to The Food Bank Singapore! This wonderful charity was created in 2012 and now supplies more than 300 organisations with food rations and meals each day. Member beneficiaries include soup kitchens, family service centres, schools with children from low-income families, and senior activity centres. The charity works tirelessly to collect surplus food to pass to people in need of feeding, while also working towards reducing Singapore’s food wastage problem. Food donations generally come from individuals, manufacturers and retailers, and The Food Bank gives these unwanted, discarded goods to those who really need them. Collections are sorted and stored in a central warehouse, and distributed and delivered to beneficiaries all around Singapore.
4. Where to donate your canned and packaged goods
First things first: The Food Bank encourages people NOT to buy food specifically for donating. Its main objective is to use food that would otherwise be wasted and is probably already lurking in your cupboards. Canned and packaged food (including unopened chips, rice, powder drinks, cereals, etc) are all welcome – just check that they haven’t passed their expiry dates. Your excess food can be popped into Bank Boxes located islandwide:
- Bedok Point, 799 New Upper Changi Road, Level 3 Customer Service, Singapore 467351 (11am-10pm)
- Century Square, 2 Tampines Central 5, Level 1 Information Counter, Singapore 529509 (10am-10pm)
- Changi City Point, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 486038 (10am-9.30pm)
- Cold Storage, Kallang Leisure Park, 5 Stadium Walk, #B1-01/05, Singapore 397693 (10am-10pm)
- EastPoint Mall, 3 Simei Street, Level 5 (near foyer escalator), Singapore 528833 (10am-10pm)
- Giant Hypermarket, 21 Tampines North Drive 2, #03-01, Singapore 528765 (9am-10pm)
- [email protected], 11 Bedok North Street 1, Level 1 (at Our Green Space Corner), Singapore 469662 (24 hours)
- PLQ Mall, 10 Paya Lebar Road, B1 (beside Concierge Desk), Singapore 409057 (9am-10pm)
- Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central 1, B1 Information Counter, Singapore 529536 (10am-10pm)
- White Sands Mall, 1 Pasir Ris Central Street 3, Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 518457 (10am-10pm)
- Compass One Mall, 1 Sengkang Square, Level 1 (in between Giordano and Polar Puffs & Cakes), Singapore 545078 (10am-10pm)
- Hougang Mall, 90 Hougang Avenue 10, Level 3 (behind the Customer Service counter), Singapore 538766 (10am-10pm)
- Waterway Point, 83 Punggol Central, East Wing Level 1 (at Customer Service in front of Andersen’s Ice Cream), Singapore 828761 (10am-10pm)
- Causeway Point, 1 Woodlands Square, Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 738099 (11am-10pm)
- NorthPoint City, 930 Yishun Avenue 2, North Wing Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 769098 (11am-10pm)
- Giant Hypermarket, Sembawang Shopping Centre, 604 Sembawang Road, #B1-25, Singapore 758459 (9am-10pm)
- THK Chong Pang Social Service Hub, Blk 131 Yishun Street 11, Singapore 760131 (Weekdays, 10am-5pm)
- Wisteria Mall, 598 Yishun Ring Road, B1 Information Counter, Singapore 768698 (10am-10pm)
- Giant Hypermarket, IMM, 2 Jurong East Street 21, #01-100, Singapore 609601 (9am-10pm)
- Giant Hypermarket, Pioneer Mall, Blk 638 Jurong West Street 61, #03-01, Singapore 640638 (9am-10pm)
- Nanyang Technological University, The Hive at B5 (near lift lobby), 52 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639816 (8.30am-5pm)
- National University of Singapore, Residential College 4, University Town, 6 College Avenue East, #01-01, Singapore 138614 (8.30am-5pm)
- Alexandra Point, 438 Alexandra Road, B1 Information Counter, Singapore 119958 (11am-9pm)
- Alexandra Technopark, 438B Alexandra Road, Block B Level 1 (next to the childcare centre), Singapore 119968 (11am-9pm)
- Chrysler Jeep Automotive of Singapore, 1 Chang Charn Road, Singapore 159630 (9am-5.30pm)
- Quayside Isle Sentosa Cove, 31 Ocean Way, B1 (outside management office), Singapore 098375 (10am-10pm)
- City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road, Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 208539 (10am-10pm)
- Cold Storage, Jelita Shopping Centre, 293 Holland Road, #01-01, Singapore 278628 (10am-10pm)
- Cold Storage, [email protected], 896 Dunearn Road, #02-01, Singapore 598472 (10am-10pm)
- Cold Storage, Great World, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #B1-139, Singapore 237994 (10am-10pm)
- Cross Street Exchange, The Adelphi, 1 Coleman Street, #08-01 (Customer Lounge at Mall Basement 1), Singapore 179803 (10am-10pm)
- Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Level 2 Customer Service, Singapore 238884 (10am-9pm)
- Frasers Cuppage, 51 Cuppage Road, #01-06A, Singapore 229469 (9am-10pm)
- Frasers Tower, 182 Cecil Street, Level 2 (beside Ya Kun Kaya Toast), Singapore 069547 (9am-6pm)
- Giant Hypermarket, Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard, #B1-154/155/156, Singapore 038983 (9am-10pm)
- Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard, B2-10 (The Community Space), Singapore 018984 (10am-10pm)
- Market Place, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933 (10am-10pm)
- Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street, #02-20A, Singapore 237995 (11am-10pm)
- The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, Customer Service at Level 3, Singapore 238843 (10am-10pm)
- Tiong Bahru Plaza, 298 Tiong Bahru Road, Level 2 Information Counter, Singapore 168730 (10am-10pm)
- Valley Point, 491 River Valley Road, (Basement carpark, facing the twin lift lobby), Singapore 248371 (11am-10pm)
For more Bank Box locations, go here. You can also bring your donations directly to The Food Bank at 218 Pandan Loop @ XPACE, Singapore 128408 (email [email protected] or call 6831 5395 ahead of your drop-off). The Food Bank warehouse is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-5pm. Alternatively, you can contribute by fulfilling its Amazon wishlist.
Now go plan your meals, sort out your cupboards, and donate what you don’t need!