It’s a shame to bin food

BAD HABITS: A third of everything grown on Earth is lost or wasted during production and consumption.

I was buying half-priced bread inĀ  a Japanese bakery stand before closing time one evening when my friend noticed the staff throwing unsold bread and pastries into rubbish bags.

We asked if they give their unsold bread to homes. The staff told us that they donate unsold products to homes only on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It was a Friday and there were several large garbage bags filled with unsold bread and pastries.

We offered to take the bread off them but were told that it is company policy to bin unsold bread rather than give them away.

It’s no wonder that Malaysians waste 15,000 tonnes of food daily, enough to feed 7.5 million people or about one third of our population.

Of the amount wasted, 10 per cent to 15 per cent are either unconsumed or expired.

By comparison, Hong Kong dumped 3,600 tonnes of food waste a day in 2011.

That’s 0.50kg of food waste per person daily, compared with 0.36kg produced in Singapore, 0.35kg in Taiwan and 0.29kg in South Korea, according to Friends of the Earth.

The 2012 Auditor-General’s report highlighted an oversupply of dry rations to the tune of RM47.98 million to the Royal Malaysian Navy between 2010 and 2012.

Only 28 per cent of the supplies worth RM13.46 million were used.

This kind of waste is offensive when there are poor and homeless people who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

At this rate, we may one day catch up with wasteful British households that throw away about 4.4 million tonnes of edible food a year with bread being the most wasted of all.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) indicates that 32 per cent of bread purchased by United Kingdom households is dumped when it could be eaten.

Globally, food waste takes its toll by draining natural resources and adds to negative environmental impacts.

by Eleanor Chen.

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