Food is so readily available in Singapore, it is so easy to find a shop selling food, be it biscuits, titbits or raw and cooked food. Too many of us take this problem for granted, and bear an opinion that it is ok to throw away food that cannot be finished at that point of time as there is still plenty of food out there that would not run out.

The amount of food that Singaporeans choose not to finish just because they feel it does not taste good or because they ordered too much because they wanted more variety is appalling, and it measures up to be more food being wasted in a week than people in food starved places such as the deserts of Africa have to survive on for months, and is so much it could fill more than thousands of containers.

Humans literally cannot survive without food, henceforth, since food is so important for survival, why are so many Singaporeans wasting food like there is no tomorrow?

Some of Singaporeans’ reasons for throwing away and wasting food:

  1. They like more variety of dishes in their meal, and thus order more than they can finish, and just eat what they can and leave the rest to be thrown away. They feel that this is ok since they paid for the food and are free to do what they want with it, and since food is not near anywhere of being in shortage, this ‘little’ personal wastage is insignificant.
  2. For some people, when eating with friends, they want to save face and do not want to finish everything on their plates, especially if the portions are quite big, not because they cannot finish it but because they do not want to be teased for eating so much, a common mindset amongst the younger generation.
  3. Some people buy so much fresh food from the market and supermarkets, but do not really plan when they are going to cook them or when they will eat them, resulting in these foods spoiling and have to be thrown away.
  4. There are people who throw away food and drinks (usually snacks and drinks) just because it does not suit their tastebuds or they cannot finish it at the moment and are reluctant to carry this ‘burden’ with them when going back to work or going shopping etc…
  5. After buying/cooking too much food to finish for that meal, some do not want to eat leftovers for a multitude of reasons such as it being degrading to them, or finding it a health hazard, thus, they throw the remaining food away.

Why we should not waste food:

  • Food is a precious resource we need to survive, and food is a finite resource that can be depleted is wastage causes the consumption to go over the production of food. Then we would face food shortages, not a problem that would be eaily solved
  • Saving food means ordering and only eating what we need, and not surplus that we cannot finish. This saves us money, and also brings down demand for food supplies, which will also reduce the rate of inflation which propels food prices.
  • Just think, the food we waste could be someone starving’s meal, so we should not take the food we have and can buy for granted, for we must put ourselves in their shoes, where they frequently hope for just enough food to barley survive, in which they would be contented

How to prevent ourselves from wasting food:

  1. Order only what you think you can finish, not just what you want. It is not a crime to order some food first, and if you want more you can take a second order.
  2. Carrying unfinished food and drink will not bog down your thinking or movements, carrying it along to finish later is just a little effort you can take to prevent food wastage
  3. When buying fresh food, pre-plan when you will cook them and also check for expiry dates, so as to prevent food spoilage in your fridge and disposing them, wasting food in the process.
  4. Leftovers that have been kept in the fridge for a day or less are not that much of a health hazard, so those little amounts of food you cannot finish can be eaten again without health risk and not be wasted, and furthermore, eating leftovers later on is a way of saving food and is not in any way degrading so long as the person eating the leftovers is not eating it because he/she is forced to by someone else.

Since food is such an important resource, let us all play our own individual parts in reducing food wastage and curbing this increasingly apparent problem in Singapore.

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