Food Waste Management

Food Waste Management Strategies

Strategy 1: Prevent and reduce food wastage at source

The preferred way to manage food waste is to avoid wasting food at the onset. 

NEA launched a Food Waste Reduction (FWR) outreach programme in November 2015 to encourage the adoption of smart food purchase, storage and preparation habits that help consumers save money while reducing food wastage at source.

The outreach programme features educational materials publicised on both print and social media platforms (e.g. newspapers, television, websites) and community-led initiatives, which included an educational skit.

NEA has developed various outreach materials for the FWR programme. Organisations who are keen to embark on their own FWR programme may tap on these resources. A list of available outreach materials is available here.

Everyone can play an active role and motivate friends and family to reduce food wastage at home. For easy-to-do and useful tips on how to reduce food wastage at home and when dining out, members of the public can download an online handy guide (Love Your Food Handy Guide [PDF, 2.76 Mb]). The guide provides useful suggestions on meal planning, food storage, as well as recipes and innovative ideas on how to use leftover food to create tasty dishes.

Love Your Food Handy Guide [PDF, 4.82 Mb]

Love Your Food Handy Guide [PDF, 2.76 Mb]

NEA commissioned a household waste study in 2016 to obtain quantitative data on the amount of waste disposed of by households and to understand public sentiments on food waste management. The study found that food waste accounted for about half of the waste disposed of by each Singapore household a day. Of this, more than half of the food waste could have been prevented through actions such as not over-ordering, over-buying or over-cooking. Rice, noodles and bread are found to be the most commonly wasted food items. More information on the household waste study can be found here.

In addition, NEA and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) have worked with various industry stakeholders to publish food waste minimisation guidebooks for food retail establishments, supermarkets and food manufacturing establishments to reduce food waste across the supply chain. Click on the following guidebooks to find out more.


Food Waste Minimisation Guidebook for Food Retail Establishments
[PDF, 3.15 Mb]

Food Waste Minimisation Guidebook for Supermarkets
[PDF, 3.60 Mb]

Food Waste Minimisation Guidebook for Food Manufacturing Establishments [PDF, 3.08 Mb]
Organisations who wish to embark on their own food wastage reduction (FWR) programmes or collaborate with NEA for outreach programmes can contact us for more information. 

Possible areas for collaboration include:

a) Publicity
Organisations could leverage on their publicity platforms (e.g. social media platforms, webpage, notice boards) to raise awareness on and promote FWR. NEA could work with organisations to develop relevant content if required. 

b) Starting a FWR outreach programme
Organisations can implement their own FWR outreach programme. Organisations can train their staff to be Food Wastage Reduction Ambassadors (FWRAs), to lead outreach programmes within the organisation. NEA could work with organisations to support your outreach programmes or train staff to be FWRAs. 

Owners and operators of food retail business or premises with food retail establishments (e.g. staff canteens, cafes) can consider adopting FWR practices from the food waste minimisation guidebooks. 

NEA has also developed a Love Your Food @ Canteen programme, a clean plate challenge to encourage patrons to order only what they can and finish their food so as to reduce food waste generated. NEA can support you by providing the required resources. A toolkit has also been developed to guide organisations in implementing your own challenge as part of your FWR outreach programme. 

LYF @ Canteen programme toolkit
NEA Love Your Food Canteen Programme_Challenge Toolkit [PDF, 1.68 Mb]

c) Collaterals 
Organisations can request for collateral materials bearing FWR messaging (e.g. posters, table-top stickers) to be placed within food retail establishments, canteens, pantries etc. The minimum display period for the collaterals is 3 months. 

Other collateral materials such as a pop-up banner and table games are also available for rent for organisations who wish to implement FWR outreach programmes. More information on the rental of these items can be found here.

Strategy 2: Redistribute unsold/excess food

As part of NEA’s ongoing 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) outreach effort, NEA encourages both organisations and members of the public to donate their unsold and excess food to food distribution organisations.

Food manufacturers, food retail establishments and supermarkets can contact food distribution organisations to make arrangements for the donation of their unsold and excess food. For instance, unsold and/or excess food produce can be delivered to Food Bank Singapore or Food from the Heart where they are packed and distributed to needy households.

Members of the public can also reduce food waste by donating safe and edible food items which they no longer wish to consume. For example, they could drop off their excess non-perishable food items at various collection points. Shopping malls and offices may also wish to adopt a bank box to be placed at their premises to offer a convenient point for people to drop off their unwanted yet unopened and unexpired food items.

Food-boxes by Food Bank Singapore

For more information on the food distribution organisations, please click here

Strategy 3: Recycle/Treat food waste

Food waste that cannot be avoided should be recycled where possible. To support successful food waste recycling, food waste must be separated from non-food waste items, such as disposable cutlery, as they may disrupt the recycling process. Segregation of food waste is best done at the source (i.e. at the point of generation) as it is less efficient to separate it once it is mixed with general waste.

Some households have started composting food waste, such as raw fruit and vegetable scraps, using worms or making their own composting bins at home. The National Parks Board has provided some guidelines on how the public can begin their DIY composting at home.

Homogeneous food waste recycling

Currently, majority of the food waste that is recycled is mainly homogeneous food waste from food manufacturers. These include spent yeast/grains from beer brewing, soya bean waste and bread waste, which are segregated at the source and sold to recyclers for conversion into animal feed.

Click here for the list of food waste recycling facilities and the types of food waste that they can accept.

On-site food waste treatment

In addition, several owners/operators of premises, including hotels, shopping malls and schools, are segregating their food waste and using on-site food waste treatment systems to convert the food waste into compost for landscaping purposes or water for non-potable use. 

Click here for a list of suppliers of on-site food waste treatment systems.

Owners and operators of premises who wish to implement on-site food waste treatment may refer to the process flow below:

1. Conduct a food waste audit or estimate the amount of food waste generated (Refer to S/N 1)
2. Decide on the type of system (i.e. wet system with non-potable water as the end-product, dry system with compost as the end product) (Refer to S/N 2)
3.  Decide location of food waste treatment system (Refer to S/N 3)

S/NDescription of initiatives
1. Determine the capacity of food waste treatment system Prior to selecting the food waste treatment system, we recommend premises owners/operators to conduct a food waste audit to determine the amount of food waste generated. This provides an indication on a suitable capacity for the food waste treatment system.

To conduct a food waste audit, you may refer to the Food Waste Minimisation Guidebooks which provides a simple food waste audit template. Alternatively, premises who wish to conduct an in-depth audit can refer to SS 633 - Singapore Standards on Food Waste Management for Food Manufacturing/Processing Establishments and SS 640 - Singapore Standards on Food Waste Management for Food Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Establishments.

Premises can also work with suppliers of on-site treatment systems to estimate the amount of food waste generated and the recommended capacity of the system.

 2. Consider the type of food waste treatment system When selecting the type of food waste treatment system, consider the following:
  1. Type of food waste that can be treated

    Consider the types of food waste that the system can and cannot treat. Some systems may require a grinder to crush big or hard bones before they can be treated. Generally, hard shells (e.g. lobster/oyster shells, coconut/durian husks) or fibrous items like sugarcane bagasse cannot be deposited into the treatment system.

  2. Types and uses of end-products

    Consider the uses of end-product(s) (e.g. non-potable water, compost, fertiliser and liquid nutrient) that are generated from the food waste treatment system. In general, there are 2 types of end-product.

i. Non-potable water: They may be used to backwash the treatment system or washing of floors.

ii. Compost/fertiliser/liquid nutrient: They may be used for landscaping purposes. Please refer to the SS 628 – Singapore Standards on Specifications for Compost for the use of compost in agriculture and horticulture.

Provisions shall be made for the effluent from the food waste treatment system to be discharged into the sewer through a grease trap.

3. Location of food waste treatment systemPremises should cater space to house the food waste treatment system. In general, the space required for a 1-tonne food waste treatment system is approximately the size of 2 carpark lots. For new developments, this space could be set aside during planning or renovation. Premises are also recommended to check with suppliers on the exact space requirements for the specific systems.

For hygiene purpose, the food waste treatment system should be sited away from the food preparation area. Some possible areas for siting of food waste treatment system include the bin centre or dishwashing area. Please ensure that proper refuse, odour and pest management are in place with the installation of the food waste treatment system. 

There should also be a power supply available for the treatment system.

Besides on-site food waste treatment systems, there are systems that remove moisture from food waste through dehydration or heating. While these systems reduce the weight and volume of food waste, they do not involve biological processes to decompose food waste. The residue is dewatered food waste and may cause odour or pest issues when it becomes wet. Thus, it is unsuitable for landscaping use.

Off-site food waste treatment

NEA has conducted a pilot project to assess the viability of collecting and transporting source-segregated food waste to an off-site treatment facility where the food waste is co-digested with used water sludge. Source-segregated food waste collected from various premises is transported to a demonstration facility located at Ulu Pandan.

The demonstration facility is designed to treat up to 40 tonnes of combined food waste and used water sludge daily. The co-digestion process yields more biogas compared to the treatment of used water sludge alone, thereby enhancing energy recovery. As the pilot has demonstrated that it is feasible to collect food waste from various premises for transportation to an off-site facility for treatment and conversion into biogas, the process will be implemented at the upcoming Tuas Nexus.

Implementing food waste segregation

To guide owners/operators and occupiers of premises on implementing proper food waste segregation and adopting food waste recycling/treatment, NEA has also developed a food waste segregation guidebook.

Food Waste Segregation and Treatment Guidebook_cover
Food Waste Segregation and Treatment Guidebook [PDF, 2.2 Mb]


Strategy 4: Recover energy

Food waste that is not recycled or treated will be disposed of at the waste-to-energy (WTE) plants for energy recovery.

For more information on the WTE plants, please click here.