Municipal food waste management in Singapore: practices, challenges and recommendations


Ng, B.J.H., Mao, Y., Chen, C.L., Rajagopal, R., Wang, J.Y. (2017). Municipal food waste management in Singapore: practices, challenges and recommendations. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, [online] 19(1), 560-569.


Municipal food waste is a global challenge in solid waste management, especially in Singapore. It is scattered in location, non-ignorable in quantity, and non-uniform in quality. This report focuses on the state of the art and challenges of Singapore municipal food waste management for the first time. The previous studies only focus on general food waste from both industry and municipality. The physical properties of municipal food waste are incompatible to landfill and incineration by creating secondary environmental burdens and lowering treatment efficiency. A decentralized anaerobic co-digestion with other substrates, after comparing with other technologies, is recommended, since bio-energy is a recognized valuable final product in Singapore’s context. However, there are four major highlighted challenges of food waste recycling, including low final product demand, inefficient waste collection design, cheap disposal cost, and low social awareness. A “food waste management hierarchy” for Singapore is also proposed. The most to least preferred options are listed as: source reduction, industrial uses, renewable energy, and composting then incineration.

Publication date