Food waste recycling is catching on in Singapore. There's a company that takes your food waste and then converts it into energy and compost. There are also a few small businesses that take soya bean waste and spent grains from food factories such as the beer industry, and convert it into fertiliser or directly sell it to the farms as feed. Sounds good, but I wonder whether we should actually be cutting down on the waste instead...
In Japan, there is an NGO, Second Harvest Japan (2HJ), which promotes the concept of a food bank to make effective use of food. A Japanese food bank operates to collect food products that are discarded due to high quality standards of food manufacturers and provide the food to orphanages, single mother shelters and other facilities in need. According to the Japan for Sustainability , it distributed 300 tons of food (worth about US$1.2 million) in 2007.
2HJ estimates that more than 650,000 people currently have difficulty affording food in Japan, while public data show that approximately 20 million tons of food products are disposed of annually - that's a lot of food!!! In Singapore, 558,900 tonnes of food waste was generated in 2007.
Anyway, 2HJ asks food-related companies to donate food products which are safe to eat but have lost market value due to packaging defects, proximity of expiration dates or other reasons, for distribution to people in need.Companies also have a large incentive to take part in this charity program that provides an alternative to dumping food products that are still safe to eat, as it allows them to lower the cost for discarding food. The total cost reduction of the participating companies amounted to about US$390,000 in 2007.