Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) will devote an investment sum of S$1.76 million to a new fund. This will be used to alleviate the concerns of food wastage in the country.
On Thursday (7 May), the new fund, called the Food Waste Fund, was announced by the agency to finance the implementation cost of treating food waste for businesses.
Organisations such as non-profit organisations, companies and managing bodies like management corporation strata titles (MCST) can apply for the fund starting from 18 May to 28 February next year.
The Food Waste Fund is in accordance with “efforts to secure Singapore’s climate resilient future and help companies transition towards a zero-waste economy amid the current challenging economic conditions,” NEA told the Straits Times (ST).
For each applicant, the fund is limited at S$100,000 but it covers for the capital cost of food waste treatment systems as well as the accompanying equipment like infrastructural improvements and bin lifters.
The fund’s disbursement will be done in two stages. The first disbursement will be 50 per cent of the approved grant upon the installation and commissioning of the food waste treatment system. For instance, the cost of getting recycling equipment to convert food waste into other products like animal feed will be offset by the fund.
Industry associations, including the Singapore Food Manufacturing Association, Singapore Hotel Association and Singapore Manufacturing Federation have stamped their approval on the fund. They stated that companies that are interested in integrating food waste management practices into their businesses will benefit from the grant.
Since applicants can claim the full grant in six months, the shorter disbursement period of the fund was attractive, the associations said to NEA.
“Sustainability has become an important element of the hospitality business… Since dining is an integral part of the hotel experience, NEA’s commitment to responsible food waste management will strengthen Singapore’s position as the leader in sustainable tourism,” the Executive Director of Singapore Hotel Association, Margaret Heng spoke to the ST.
After a downward trend of food waste disposed and an upward trend of food waste recycling, the amount of disposed food waste in 2019 was one of the lowest in recent years. Even so, food wastage yet remains an issue in the country.
However, of all the waste generated in Singapore, food waste still forms about 10 per cent of it, whereas the rate of food recycling rate is still relatively low last year, at 18 per cent.
NEA stated that the preferred way to manage food waste is to minimize wasting food from the very beginning, even though the Food Waste Fund will encourage organisations to treat and recycle food waste.
The current disposal of unrecycled food at waste-to-energy plants is not sustainable in the long term. The waste pollutes recyclables and compromises recycling efforts while there is not enough effort and resources going towards collecting and disposing of food waste.
Furthermore, the Semakau Landfill, which is the only landfill in Singapore is predicted to run out of space in 2035 and it will soon reach its maximum capacity.
Owners and operators of industrial and commercial premises that generated large amounts of food waste, such as large hotels and malls, will need to segregate their food waste for treatment starting from 2024.
The fund also targets companies to assist them in adopting food waste segregation and treatment prior to the mandatory requirement being enforced.
For more information and to apply, organisations can apply for the fund starting from 18 May by visiting NEA Food Waste Fund webpage.