Date
17 October 2018
Soup residues make up the bulk of food waste in Hong Kong, according to a survey conducted by Food Grace and Baptist University's College of International Education. Photo: HKEJ
Soup residues make up the bulk of food waste in Hong Kong, according to a survey conducted by Food Grace and Baptist University's College of International Education. Photo: HKEJ

Soup residues make up 41% of food waste, NGO study finds

Leftovers from traditional Chinese soup make up the bulk of food waste in Hong Kong, a survey found.

The survey, conducted by environmental group Food Grace and the Hong Kong Baptist University’s College of International Education, interviewed 603 households on their cooking habits and awareness of food waste.

The researchers found that 41.4 percent of the food waste came from soup residues.

If each of the 2.25 million households in the city makes 2.5 pots of soups per week, there will be 900,000 pots of soup every day and 450 metric tons of soup leftovers will end up as food waste daily, the study estimates.

Nutritionist Arlene-Frances Wu stressed that nutrition may not completely dissolve in the soup and is therefore wasted in leftovers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

During a press briefing on the survey results on Wednesday, an experienced domestic helper suggested that people cut up the soup ingredients into smaller portions to bring out more flavor and reduce leftovers.

The survey also showed that 62 percent of the respondents thought that most of the food waste came from commercial sources, but Ng said studies showed that 65 percent of the food waste came from homes.

According to the survey, 25 percent of the respondents overbought food items, prompting Food Grace project officer Casey Ng to urge households to avoid doing that, especially during supermarket sales when lower prices encourage them to buy more than they need.

Around 70 percent of the respondents said they would join food recycling programs in their districts.

However, Food Grace, which has launched such programs, said its efforts have been hampered by lack of funding and difficulty of finding venues.

It urged the government to enact laws and introduce tax breaks to curb food waste.

The Environment Bureau plans to establish Organic Resources Recovery Centers across the territory to handle food waste collection.

The first phase, located in Siu Ho Wan, Lantau Island, and the second, in Sandy Ridge near Lo Wu, will process around 500 tons of food waste daily.

Construction of the first phase was completed this month, and the second phase will be ready by the fourth quarter of 2021. 

There are plans to establish a third phase, but the location has yet to be determined.

Food waste collection aside, Ng said the government should put more effort into reducing food waste, which, according to government data, reached 3,600 metric tons each day in 2016.

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KN/JC/CG

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