Food waste up 40% in last 10 years

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Half of waste at home is food, study shows

About 2.5kg of food waste is thrown away by an average Singapore home each week, and this makes up half of all waste the home disposes of, a National Environment Agency (NEA) study released yesterday showed.

More than half the food wasted could be avoided through people not buying, ordering or cooking excessively, with rice, noodles and bread forming the most commonly wasted food items, said the five-month study involving 443 homes.

The findings underscore the fact that the amount of food waste generated in Singapore has increased by about 40 per cent over the last 10 years, with the amount last year - 791,000 tonnes - equivalent to the weight of more than 3,500 MRT trains.

At a grassroots event at Hong Kah Community Club yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said a more affluent society and a wider range of food choices were possible reasons for this increase.

People in 443 homes took part in the household waste study from November last year to March this year.

Waste samples were collected from 279 of these homes three days a week to determine the proportion that was avoidable, versus waste not intended for human consumption, such as eggshells and bones. The other homes had interviews done.

The survey showed that 27 per cent of the homes had leftovers after a meal at least half the time, while 24 per cent often threw away spoilt or expired food, mainly because the respondents bought too much.- LIM MIN ZHANG