Declare War on Food Waste

by Sharan Raj

Malaysian Parliamentarians should declare war on food waste, rather than arguing over a dead man’s ashes. According to World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), food waste generates 11% of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to world aviation which generates 2% of global emissions. Food waste comprises nearly half of Malaysia’s landfill waste, contributing to the climate crisis. 

Malaysia has imported RM34.2 billion worth of food within the first 8 months of this year. Food imports will cross RM52 billion by end of the year, with most of the food ending up in a landfill. Malaysia food imports are higher than the remittances from migrant workers (RM40.6 billion, 2018). 

SWCorp reported that Malaysians threw away 16,688 tons of food daily, which could feed 12 million people per day. The food waste disposal increases by 15%-20% during festive periods. Malaysia needs to urgently tackle in food waste to curtail the free-fall in the Ringgit’s value, address shrinking landfill space, overcome the climate crisis and ensure food sovereignty.

FOOD WASTE SOURCES SHARE (%)
Household38%
Wet Market24%
Restaurant23%
Hotels7%
Others (Hypermarket, Catering, Religious Bodies)8%
Total 100%

Steps to Tackle Food Waste:

1. Local councils should coordinate with apartment Joint Managed Bodies (JMB) to collect unutilized food from their residents. Selangor, Penang and Johor are the biggest food waste producers and with the most apartment dwellers. The food waste could be sent to food banks.

2. Push restaurants, eateries, fast food and stalls to have multi-size servings. The current single size serving is considered ‘too big’ for many Malaysian generating lots of leftover food. Multi-size servings allow people to right-size their serving and reduce their food expenditure.

3. Welfare agencies could buy excess produce at 1/5 of the selling price from market traders and resell to B40 groups. The demand for fresh stock by middle to high-income communities forces traders to dump their stock daily. This mechanism will also improve nutrition access for Malaysia’s lower income group.

4. The Ministry of Agriculture should conduct seminars to teach event planners, caterers and organizers on how to minimise food waste in their respective industries. There is sufficient awareness, but lack of capacity and access to knowledge on how to minimise food waste.


Written By:

SHARAN RAJ

Central Commitee(Enviromental & Climate Crisis Bureau) Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)& 
State Chairperson Parti Sosialis Malaysia, Melaka (PSM Melaka)

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