KUALA LUMPUR: Households are the largest contributor of the overall 16,650 tonnes of food waste in the country daily, says Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM)’s centre for Science and Environment Studies’ Fellow Azrina Sobian.

She said households produced the largest food waste at 38% compared to wet markets (24%), restaurants (23%) or hotels (7%).

“On average, a family of four people produce almost 1kg of food waste every day.

“Food waste problem in Malaysia is alarming and need to be addressed urgently,“ she said when presenting the working paper on ‘Islamic Framework in Reducing Food Waste’ at the round table conference on Food Waste Reduction: Towards Integrated Joint Efforts, organised by IKIM, here today.

She said the trend of food waste disposal increased by 15% to 20% during the festive season and in the month of Ramadan.

Hence, this round table conference served as platform for various parties to mobilise efforts to address this problem.

Among the efforts implemented was the religious-based food waste reduction project by IKIM, in collaboration with several other agencies including the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) and the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT).

The two-year project, which began in January, has shown a reduction of 28% of food waste in four locations around Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Negri Sembilan as of last month (March).

It used the Islamic approach to about 150 communities involved to stop food wastage and giving them exposure on the right way to reduce waste disposal.

Meanwhile, SWCorp’s deputy chief executive officer (technical) Dr Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha said that 3,330 tonnes of daily food waste should be avoided if the community managed and reduced food waste wisely.

“Among the major causes of food waste are over-buying, inadequate storage of food and luxury lifestyle.

“To avoid wastage, people need to know how to reduce waste such as planning before buying and cooking according to the correct quantity for each household,“ he said.

He said among SWCorp’s initiatives to reduce waste especially during Ramadan was to work with Ramadan bazaar traders by distributing unsold food to those in need. — Bernama

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