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.

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 - A Handy Guide to Reducing Food Wastage and Saving Money [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]

* For the latest food waste statistics, please refer to the main page.
* For more information and storage tips on pages 20 and 21, please refer to Singapore Food Agency's webpage.

A household waste study in 2016 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.

Food Waste Reduction (FWR) outreach as part of the Say YES to Waste Less Campaign

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. Since 2019, FWR outreach has been subsumed under the Say YES to Waste Less (SYTWL) campaign.

The SYTWL campaign was launched in 2019 to encourage the public to lead a sustainable lifestyle by reducing waste, particularly the use of disposables and food wastage. The campaign focused on the simple actions everyone can take to reduce the consumption of disposables and food wastage. Specific to food wastage, simple tips include buying and ordering only the amount of food you can finish, as well as asking for less rice/noodles if you can’t finish them.

The SYTWL campaign works closely with close to 200 partners, who have pledged their support towards Singapore’s zero waste efforts. These partners comprise corporates, social enterprises, interest groups, non-governmental organisations, and Community Development Councils, which committed to various actions to reduce the use of disposables and/or food wastage. This included prompting customers to order just enough food, plan meals in advance, make use of blemished or surplus food, offering perks such as free drink/toppings, discounts or loyalty points for customers who bring their own reusable carrier bags and containers and removing single-use carrier bags in stores. More details on our partners and their initiatives can be found here.

Various outreach materials are available for organisations keen to embark on their own FWR programme as part of SYTWL. A list of available outreach materials is available here, and collateral materials such as a pop-up banner and table games available for loan can be found here.Corporates (in particular, those in the F&B business) who wish to join the SYTWL as a campaign partner may contact us here.

Love Your Food @ Canteen programme

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. 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]


Food waste minimisation guidebooks for industry

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]

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 arrange 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: Valorise/Treat food waste

Food waste that cannot be avoided should be valorised or treated where possible. To support successful food waste valorisation or treatment, food waste must be separated from non-food waste items, such as disposable cutlery, as they may disrupt the treatment 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 valorisation

Currently, most of the food waste that is recycled is 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

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 consider the below steps:

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

NEA developed a food waste segregation guidebook to guide owners/operators and occupiers of premises on implementing proper food waste segregation and adopting food waste valorisation/treatment.

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 valorised 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.