IMPACT 0558: CAMPAIGNING AGAINST FOOD WASTAGE IN SINGAPORE THROUGH FOOD REDISTRIBUTIONS
Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.
Agnes Yap, 22, is currently working in the Swab Operations sector. She also used to shoot live performances as photography was one of her hobbies and side hustles. She has since switched over to helping MoNo redistribute discarded food to those who need them. She was also a part of the recent Season 3 of the Youth Action Challenge! Today she shares more about her experience!
What was your role within your YAC project?
As part of the MoNo team, I help to source information about food waste in Singapore, set up and run social media pages for MoNo, and provide informative insights on “best before dates” to the followers of our social media accounts.
What motivated you to join YAC?
I wanted to make an impact in my generation. We only have one Earth and if my project can help the environment and reduce food wastage, that would be awesome.
Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?
It was eye-opening. We learnt about the business side of our project, the importance of knowing our target markets and getting feedback from the public and our peers. It was also great seeing other teams working so hard for their cause.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?
Putting our ideas into action is very different from merely talking about them. As we are just getting started, we have had to build up our knowledge and understanding of the food waste issue in Singapore, establish connections, and manage limited financial resources. The scale of food wastage is huge and a great deal still needs to be done.
Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?
Through MoNo, we’ve managed to redistribute some of the food abandoned by suppliers to the public and businesses. If no one redistributes them, food that is still of good quality will be thrown away and probably incinerated. We also learned a lot about flaws in logistic supply chains that result in large quantities of food wastage.
We saw with our own eyes how waste disposal companies operate: collecting perfectly edible food, drying the food under the sun, causing lots of pollution, and attracting pests like cockroaches, flies and rats.
Several of these companies will also dispose of cartons of food in dump sites in the middle of the night instead of sending them to the incinerator. Incinerating wet food items isn’t a good solution either. For example, a lot more energy and electricity is required to incinerate a glass bottle of mayonnaise or tomato sauce. If this happens for a bottle of sauce, what more for cartons, pallets or containers filled with numerous glass bottles of sauces? Where else can we dispose of these in land-scarce Singapore?
You can read more on the food waste issue and what MoNo is doing to help on our website: https://www.mono.sg/
Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?
Collaboration is always key to success. This is especially so when working with people who believe in the same cause as you. Anyone can make a difference — it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. As long as you have a good idea, it can become reality if we work together.
This article was published on May 5, 2022