Minimising Our Waste


Food Waste


“Food waste” is defined as food that is discarded or sent for recycling or disposal, and includes peelings, skins, bones, shells, etc. Food waste is produced in homes, as well as during food manufacturing processes and in the catering industry, food courts, restaurants, supermarkets, hawker centres, etc. Waste statistics in 2013 revealed that Singapore generated 796,000 tonnes of food waste, making up approximately 10% of the total waste generated. The amount of food waste generated in 2013 was also an increase of almost 40% from 558,900 tonnes in 2007 and close to 50% came from households.


While the increases could be attributed to an overall growth of our economy and population, the aim would be to reduce our amount of food waste. Key drivers of unnecessary household food waste might include purchasing food in excess of actual needs resulting in spoilt food, as well as poor storage and portion planning.


Problem statement

Before people can be motivated to change their behaviour and reduce food waste, it is necessary for them to be aware of how much is wasted, the impact of this waste and what can be done to reduce it. Awareness, like for the case of most problems, is the first step to finding a solution.


How can we use apps and other forms of technologies to: • help us understand our waste patterns; • assist appropriate purchases of foodstuff; • enable better management of food purchases (e.g. track expiry date of food); and • ultimately, drive changes in our behaviour to reduce food waste


Plastic Waste


It is hard to imagine life without plastic. The amount of plastic waste generated globally each year is staggering. In Singapore, of the 832,200 tonnes of plastic waste generated in 2013, only 11% of the plastic waste was recycled and the rest was incinerated.Plastic is used extensively in packaging, especially in end-consumer products and disposables. To start, there are many opportunities to reduce the amount of plastic we use, and to reuse plastic as much as possible, before recycling it.


While the increases could be attributed to an overall growth of our economy and population, the aim would be to reduce our amount of food waste.


Key drivers of unnecessary household food waste might include purchasing food in excess of actual needs resulting in spoilt food, as well as poor storage and portion planning.


Problem statement
Reduce

What can we do to inform and educate our community about the ways to reduce unnecessary purchase of plastic products, disposables or products with plastic packaging?

Reuse

Can we use technology to encourage people to reuse plastic products and reduce dependence on plastic disposables?

Recycle

How can we encourage the community through technology and behavioural support initiatives to increase the plastic recycling rate? Like with energy consumption initiatives, how can we leverage personal or community competitiveness to proactively address this growing problem?

Improving Our Hawker Centres


Smart Nation, Smart Hawker Centres

Initially designed to house street hawkers in clean, hygienic locations, hawker centres are now firmly established as a place for affordable everyday meals. They have become vibrant communal spaces for Singaporeans to meet with friends and family.


Singaporeans have their favourite hawker stalls and have lots of Instagram pictures to share! Hawker culture is now a cornerstone of Singapore culture and tradition, celebrated by locals and enjoyed by tourists.


As Singapore becomes the world’s first Smart Nation, how can we leverage new technologies to enhance our beloved hawker culture and make our hawker centres ‘smarter’? This could mean enhancing how the hawker centres are managed or the stalls are operated, while also continuing to offer a clean and comfortable dining experience. How can we foster a lively atmosphere throughout the day (and night)? This would translate into more business for hawkers and attract more young people to hawker centres.


Smarter Hawker Centres for our Hawkers

The emergence of the Internet of Things and Big Data offer new opportunities. What are some of the ways we can utilise these technologies to improve the efficiency of hawker centre management and the effectiveness of the hawkers’ operations?


For example: The deployment of low-cost, easy-to-maintain sensors can monitor and record ambience (light, temperature, noise, etc.) and utilisation (visitors, tables, stools, etc.) by time of day, week, area etc. Data analytics can support cleaning and general maintenance; improved traffic flow and seating; and energy efficiency – all benefiting both hawkers and patrons.


Entrepreneurial hawkers can adopt cashless payment, cloud-based solutions, and innovative customer service technologies that have the potential to reduce queues and wait times during peak periods, facilitate promotions to encourage off-peak patronage, improve efficiencies in ordering and reduce waste.

Smarter Hawker Centres for Patrons

Smarter Hawker Centres can offer a better experience for diners, like reducing queues and wait times. But what else can we explore?


Foodies are always searching for new places. Some gems are hidden in the heartland and are waiting to be discovered. We have relied on food bloggers and websites. Can we crowdsource these discoveries better or more easily? How do we find those new interesting stalls by young hawkers striking out in this trade – or the old favourites?


Sometimes, people are disappointed when stalls are not open. With the different opening times and myriad of hawkers in each hawker centre, how can we provide up-to-date information on food prices, dietary options, locations and operating hours to the community?