Teaching kids not to waste food
Bukit Panjang Primary among 35 schools joining campaign to stop food wastage
The Clean Plate Campaign, which encourages pupils to curb wastage and to buy only what they can finish, is something Sathvik S, can relate to.
Coming from India, the 12-year-old has witnessed the harsh reality of poverty in his home village and he knew from a young age the importance of not wasting food.
Even after arriving in Singapore in 2011, the Bukit Panjang Primary School pupil tried his best not to waste food, which is what the campaign hopes to encourage children here to do.
Organised by Food From The Heart (FFTH), the Clean Plate Campaign began in 2013 with five schools. This year, 35 schools are taking part.
FFTH is a non-profit organisation that helps the less fortunate through a food distribution programme.
Its executive director, Mr Anson Quek, 42, said: "We are very encouraged that the number of participating schools this year has more than doubled (compared to when we first started)."
The campaign is timely - according to the National Environment Agency, 786 million kg of food waste was generated in 2015.
This amount is equivalent to two bowls of food per person per day, and it would be enough to fill more than 1,500 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Until Oct 21, FFTH's Clean Plate Ambassadors will visit the schoolsto raise awareness of the campaign.
They will give pens to pupils who empty their plates. There will also be an information booth during recess to answer the pupils' queries.
When The New Paper visited Bukit Panjang Primary School yesterday morning, many of the pupils had empty plates after their recess meal.
TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Said Toh Rui Yi, 11: "If we keep on wasting food, one day we'll run out because we keep on consuming more than we need."
Another pupil, Marcius Lim, 11, said he would spread the message to his friends by telling them "the benefits of not wasting food".
When asked if seeing empty plates is an unusual sight, stallholder Joanne Tan, 42, said: "Yes, the children will usually waste their vegetables, but today was a huge improvement."
Mr Mohamed Riad, the school's head of department for physical education, 42, added: "We receive frequent feedback from the stallholders regarding the pupils' wastage.
"From there, we will review and think of programmes to explain to the pupils the importance of food wastage and especially, a balanced meal."
Accountant Melody Koh, 42, was one of seven FFTH volunteers at the school yesterday.
"I think it is very important to inculcate in children the values of not wasting food.
"If not, there might be a shortage of food for the future generations," said Miss Koh, who has been volunteering with FFTH for five years.
FairPrice Foundation has also pledged to give $10 to FFTH for every clean plate counted at the participating schools.
FairPrice Foundation general manager Lum Hon Fye said: "The Clean Plate campaign complements our ongoing Food Waste Framework (initiatives) to reduce food waste via public education and partnerships.
"We are heartened by the support from the participating schools."
If we keep on wasting food, one day we'll run out because we keep on consuming more than we need.
- Bukit Panjang Primary School pupil Toh Rui Yi
HOW TO REDUCE FOOD WASTAGE
- Order only what you can finish. Order less first and then get more later.
- Share dishes with your friends
- Check your kitchen before going grocery shopping so you don't buy what you already have.
- Cook a "use-it-up" meal every week using leftovers and what's already in your kitchen.
- Donate excess food to Food From The Heart, The Food Bank Singapore and Fei Yue Community Services.
Sources: National Environment Agency, Clean and Green Singapore