Reduce, Don’t Bin It!: Home Guide To Managing Food Waste

Starting from our very own homes, here is a nifty guide on how you can reduce food waste, with the help of some insightful tips.

Singapore is home to a melting pot of various culinary cuisines. At times, we may struggle to finish our meals.

In 2016, a household waste study commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) revealed that around 50% of waste disposed of by every Singaporean household is food waste. This makes it one of the largest streams of waste generated. 

Thankfully, you can be a part of the solution today. Starting from our very own homes, here is a nifty guide on how you can reduce food waste, with the help of some insightful tips.

1. Create a shopping list

The discovery of new brands and foods can make supermarketing an exciting experience for some of us. However, it can be a costly one as well if you are not careful. Entering a supermarket unsure of what to buy can lead to accidentally purchasing items that are not needed or already available at home. A shopping list can definitely help you avoid this.

Start your shopping list with an inventory check of your kitchen and refrigerator. Write down the items you lack and remember to note the expiration dates of those you have as well. A well-planned shopping list helps you better manage your food by guiding you to purchase only what you need. A shopping list is perfect for keeping your kitchen balanced. 

2. Store your food properly to prevent them from spoiling

Smart food storage ensures that the food you brought home remains fresh and edible for as long as possible. Kitchenware like air-tight containers helps lengthen the lifespan of food, which means it will not go to waste so quickly. 

You can take this tip one step further by including colour coded containers. Organise your food into colour-coded containers based on how quickly they will spoil (e.g. red containers to store easily spoiled items like avocados). After having separated your food, remember to arrange them efficiently. Keeping your near-expiry food within easy view helps to remind you to consume it sooner as well. This system encourages you to prioritise and plan your meals ahead by deciding which ingredient needs to be cooked the soonest.

3. Keep your family informed of your dinner plans

For most of us, our mothers may be the talented cook in the family.As they enjoy feeding us, it is also important to keep them informed of our meal plans as well.

Keeping them updated ensures that they are aware of how much food to prepare for meals, otherwise there may be extra servings of food remaining. So whether you are  working late at the office or heading out to meet your buddies, remember to update your family so they would know how much food to prepare.

4. Remember to portion your meals when eating

A long and hard day at work may leave us famished. Such hunger might encourage us to overload our plates with more food than we can finish, which may go unfinished and wasted. 

Always start your meals with manageable portions. Especially dishes like rice, noodles and bread which because of how filling they are, will end up forming the largest portion of food waste. If you are still hungry after your first serving, you can always help yourself to subsequent servings after.

4. Donate leftover food

Leftover food can sometimes be unavoidable. From hosting parties to accidentally over-ordering groceries, there will be instances where we might have to manage excess food. Fortunately, excess food does not have to lead to food waste!

You can donate unsold or excess food to these NEA-supported food distribution organisations, ranging from canned goods to meats, as long as they are safe and edible. After receiving your donation, these foods will be redistributed to the needy and less fortunate. Not only will you be reducing food wastage, but you will also be contributing to a worthy cause as well. 

Check out this list of food distribution organisations

Creating sustainable food practices can greatly improve the overall quality of our lifestyle. By learning how to slowly implement these essential habits into our daily lives, we can begin to enjoy the massive benefits of reduced food wastage. Not only will we be able to create a cleaner and healthier Singapore, there will also be plenty of delicious food to go around!

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