The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is celebrating this year’s Green Action Week themed “Sharing Community” by providing tips on how to convert leftovers into meals. This sharing is to encourage Malaysians to change their habit of throwing away leftover food which is still edible. By making new meals out of these leftovers, we can help reduce food waste and food loss in Malaysia.
In 2021, Malaysians had discarded 4,081 tonnes of edible food as claimed by SWCorp. Leftover food for instance rice, bread, and noodles can be converted into simple and yet proper meals. According to SWCorp Malaysia, 24% of food waste such as leftover vegetables and meat collected in 2021 can still be consumed.
SWCorp deputy chief executive officer Mohammad Diah Wahari said that the amount of food wastage in Malaysia is adequate to feed 12 million people three times a day. This shows that Malaysians are very used to throwing away their food without thinking twice and this has become a bad habit among Malaysians. Therefore, the idea of converting leftover food into meals can be an alternate way to break this bad habit.
Rice can be converted into fried rice or ‘apam’ whereas leftover bread can be converted into bread pudding, bread fingers, cutlets or stir-fried. Malaysians should start practising a zero-waste lifestyle and learn to appreciate their food. According to Action Against Hunger, at least 14 million children suffer from serious acute malnutrition around the world and this is the cause of death for 2 million children every year.
Malaysians should stop taking food for granted and control themselves from buying more than they can consume especially during Ramadan season to avoid food waste. There are many ways to cut food wastage significantly which is crucial for economic and environmental reasons, especially in households.
Food waste may give some negative impacts on communities and the environment. The discarded leftover foods eventually end up in the landfills which can promote the emissions of greenhouse gas that contribute to climate change. Not only that, the bad habits of constantly throwing away leftover foods may influence food security and food availability in a negative way that can lead to increased food prices, as attested in a 2014 United Nations report.
Therefore, CAP is working on an effort to spread awareness to communities and demonstrate to them how to convert leftover food into meals. Preventing food from going to waste is one of the easiest actions to save money, lower our carbon footprint and conserve resources. The public is welcome to share their recipes by contacting us through our social media platforms. Together we shall cut food wastage. Nothing is wasted till it is wasted.
Mohideen Abdul Kader
Consumers’ Association of Penang
Press Statement, 8 October 2022