IDEATHON on Food Waste in Singapore

#Date: 6th-7th April 2019
Where: Sodexo offices
Organised by: The Global Shapers Singapore
Event: SG Food Rescue IDEATHON

Over two days, the Global Shapers organised a workshop dedicated to understanding the origin of food waste, the challenges of reusing food, and identifying solutions to reduce food waste in Singapore. They successfully gathered experts who all work in the food management ecosystem while providing inputs from different sides of the food industry. Zero Waste City had the chance to be invited to this event and to provide expertise in the technologies related to food waste management.

The workshop was framed around two main questions:

  1. What does it mean to reduce food waste at source, and how can we work together to educate people to do this?
  2. What solution do we need to create to develop a better coordination between food waste “suppliers” and “redistributors”?

The first challenge was to understand the big picture and to link the different actors, their primary objectives and challenges. From there, we got a clear understanding of the gaps between the different actors, and we could work together to resolve them and achieve zero food waste. In a nutshell,

  • In 2017, 809,000 tonnes of food were waste. 16% was recycled (composting and digestion).
  • Figures about the amount of food discarded by the different actors of the supply chain are incomplete. If we consider the UK statistics, 40% of the food waste comes from the supply chain and 60% from the consumers.
  • Also, in the UK, approximately 40% of food waste is due to oversupply.
  • In Singapore, the primary market (producers, distributors, F&B, retailers) is oversupplied and usable food is being discarded.
  •  Fortunately, the alternative markets are growing and companies like TreeDots and UglyFood are able to recover the usable food and transform it into new products.
  • Finally, the NGOs and other beneficiaries provide a solution to the surplus of food items and can recover smaller quantities effectively.

There are enough actors in Singapore to reuse all the food, but a lack of coordination and collaboration make the food redistribution inefficient.
Collaboration and communication are the most important step to ensure the best use of resources. One of the first steps is for the alternative market to qualify and quantify how much food is refused and work with NGOs to see how this excess of food could be recovered and redistributed. Beyond these steps, commercial agreements and tool development (software and application) will offer solutions to optimise the logistics and provide financial sustainability.

At the end of the second day, we were able to share our findings with a large crowd of over 150 people. We expect that future work will take place to develop and implement solutions in the short term.

Among the key participants in the workshops, we noted:

  • Global Shapers – it is a community of young professionals united by a common desire to build a more peaceful and inclusive world.
  • Dathappy – provides consulting services to support the Data Revolution of purpose-driven organizations
  • TreeDots – provides a solution to sell and redistribute unsold inventories.
  • Ugly Food – organise the recovery of fresh produce to extend its lifespan and create new products.
  • SG Food Rescue – is a community of volunteers which rescue unsold food in order to end food waste.
  • FoodBank – is an NGO dedicated to ending hunger by collecting and redistributing food to individuals and organisations.
  • Zero Waste City – is a consulting business specialised in waste reduction for commercial and industrial facilities.

Figure 1 - Yoann Fol, from the Global Shapers, opening the presentation at the end of the IDEATHON
Figure 2 - Remi Cesaro, from Zero Waste City, explaining the situation of the food waste in Singapore and how the food ecosystem works
Figure 3 - A crowd of over 150 people joined the presentation at the end of the IDEATHON
Figure 4- Organising members and young professional moved to address issues in our communities

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About Zero Waste City

Zero Waste City is a consulting business specialised in waste reduction for commercial and industrial facilities. We help companies to save money by reducing waste and to achieve Zero Waste goals. Our services include:

Our services include:

  • Waste audit (quantifying waste streams and identifying immediate cost saving opportunities)
  • Compliance with regulations such as:
    • Mandatory Packaging Reporting
    • Mandatory Waste Reporting
    • Mandatory Food Waste Segregation
  • Project implementation and on-going support
  • Measurement and Verification of savings
  • Guidance to achieve Zero Waste goals and certifications.