Food waste problems


Waste less, More Blessings


The over-consumption and the food waste problems in Hong Kong are overwhelming. Here, over 3000 tonnes of food waste is produced on a daily basis. Over 1 million tonnes is generated in a single year. Compared with our South Korean and Taiwanese counterparts, we, citizens produce 20-30% more food waste. In fact, more of it is still edible. The soaring volume is enough to feed 2.8 million children in a poor country for a week!


It is surely not news to hear that the remaining capacities of our 3 landfills will soon be exhausted. Yet, with the doubled volume of food waste in the last 5 years, what could we possibly do? Build more landfills? Or build incinerators instead? Neither one is a good option as nobody wants to live near landfills and the latter one has environmental and health risks. Every day, $2.4 million from taxpayers goes into processing waste. No wonder the government hopes to cut food waste by 10% in 3 years.


In spite of the technical issues (the waste treatment), the problem also involves cultural practice (the idea of consumption) and human relationship with nature. Therefore, the solution is not restricted to the government policy only, but also the roles of individuals and cultural changes. So different sectors of society can all help to alleviate of the problems.


Chinese people tend to over-order as they are obliged to order more than enough when treating others. Other reasons include portions being too big and people getting picky about food. For firms and corporations, they serve an appropriate number of courses at banquets. A traditional 12 course-meal is too much for guests to enjoy. Enough is good enough. Boxes should be prepared for guests to take away leftover food as well.


Food produced should donate food surplus to food banks or charities. Schools may provide different portion sizes or distribute food according to students’ consumption amount.


People should uphold the value of “Order less, waste less, more blessings” in their daily lives. How come “ordering less” leads to “more blessings”? It is because the cost of cutting waste is much lower than that of treating waste, which is $26.5 billion, and $770 is required to set up waste treatment facilities and to burn every single ton of waste. On the contrary, only $150 is needed to reduce one ton of waste. So, make your own choice.


Don’t be those people who leave their food to rot or turn a blind eye to the poor who struggle to feed their kids. We should make donation to Hong Kong’s food recycling bank which assists grassroot communities and turn food into blessings.