SINGAPORE: With 25 F&B outlets, a supermarket and a food court, the Amara hotel and shopping centre at Tanjong Pagar generates about one and a half tonnes of food waste every day.
The food waste used to go into an incineration plant and a landfill, but it will soon be recycled when the hotel fully installs its new food digester system.
The system works by decomposition, with microbes turning the food into slurry water, a combination of liquids and solids. It is then put into a filtration system, turning it back into recyclable water, which can be pumped back into the system.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said more premises have adopted on-site food waste treatment solutions, with the agency co-funding 10 on-site food waste recycling projects so far. Four projects received approval last year, compared to just one in 2011.
"For some of the mixed developments, or some of the clients that we have, they might have food (sourced) from different places, but they actually place systems at different places,” said Michael Lee, Senior Sales Manager of food waste management company Eco-Wiz.
“But for Amara’s system, it is actually a centralised food waste collection point, so they can actually send all the food waste down from the shopping mall as well as the hotel side, to one place and all the food waste recycling is done there. Rather than having different systems at different places, then you have more things to manage."
TRAINING TO BE PROVIDED FOR AMARA STAFF
Amara is possibly the first mixed development in Singapore to have this centralised food waste recycling system.
"Besides playing our role in creating this eco-friendly environment where we can recycle the bulky and wet food waste which over time produces a foul smell, we can also reduce the frequency of waste disposal,” said Ng Khee Siong, Amara's Vice President of Operations and Development.
“Currently, our waste is being disposed daily to the incineration plant. With this solution, we can reduce (waste) by more than 50 per cent and this can be translated to more than S$50,000 savings per annum after returns of investment."
However, having a centralised system will require cooperation from all stakeholders as some extra work is involved.
"In the past it was very simple, all waste was disposed together. But now, you have to segregate it - tissue paper, cans. It's a little troublesome, but it'll be ok when we get used to it,” said Zhao Qin Fu, a cleaner at a food court.
Director of Business Development at Ka Shuu Tou, Kaz Miyagawa, said: “This is additional work for us to segregate the wastage between food and the rest. We have to carry the food wastage to the other location, but in the long run again, we believe this is necessary and very important in a broader sense, not only thinking about our own benefits.”
Moving forward, Amara said training will be provided for their staff to familiarise them with how to segregate food waste and utilise the food recycling system. The organisation will involve its hotel, food court and supermarket, which produce the bulk of food waste, before getting other F&B outlets involved.