How much food did you throw away yesterday?
We were taught from young never to waste food and to finish up as much as we can on our plates. The food we throw may not be much, but it contributes to Singapore’s food waste problem, which hit a high of 809,800 tonnes in 20171. A household waste study by the National Environment Agency (NEA) found that food waste accounted for half of the total waste disposed by households, as people throw out daily leftovers from eating and cooking. Electrolux tackles this issue with the launch of the Social Food Swap, calling on the community to consciously reduce Singapore’s food waste by just 200g per week, through the simple action of swapping food items and ingredients.
We spoke to Chef Eric Low, Electrolux’s Chef Ambassador for community initiatives who gave us some tips to reduce wastage. With more than 25 years of delivering culinary experience and expertise, Chef Low is passionate about combating food waste in Singapore, and believes good judgement and simple knowledge on food can go a long way. Here are some tips we can reduce food waste:
1) DEAL WITH LEFTOVERS EFFECTIVELY
Storing leftovers can be a chore, but not as tricky as trying to consume all the items before they go bad. Use these simple but effective steps to make sure your leftovers don’t get left behind.
- Use transparent containers for your leftovers. This will help you easily take stock of all leftovers at home.
- Keep the oldest items in the front of cabinet or refrigerator shelves. Otherwise, they tend to get pushed to the back where they are forgotten and eventually spoil.
2) PRACTICE GOOD KITCHEN HYGIENE
- Good kitchen hygiene can go a long way in keeping ingredients fresher for longer.
- Cool down newly cooked food (within four hours) in shallow containers or in an ice bath.
- Once they’re cold, cover, write the date and refrigerate quickly.
3) SHOP SMART
- Arm up with a list beforehand to prioritise only items you need.
- Plan a menu that utilizes leftover items – Stacking up on perishables is a bad idea as it can lead to more uncooked ingredients and food waste.
4) REPURPOSE YOUR FOOD ITEM
- Every ingredient in your pantry can be utilised as part of a dish.
- For instance, vegetables along with chicken and pork bones can be used to make a nutritious broth.
5) SWAP IT INSTEAD OF WASTING IT
- Instead of throwing away leftover ingredients that are close to the expiry date, swap them!
- Organise a simple Social Food Swap among friends and family by rallying everyone to bring their leftover ingredients that have been left ignored in their kitchens.
- The next step is easy – simply swap it! You will end up with food that you will eat instead of throwing away.
- It is also a fun activity for all those involved, including children.
Social Food Swap is part of HappyPlateSG, a community program by Electrolux to reduce food waste in Singapore. Started in 2015, HappyPlateSG focuses on educating the public and encouraging small and tangible actions that add up to a big difference in reducing food waste. Find out how to conduct your own Social Food Swap HERE.
Statistics taken from NEA.