The subculture known as freeganism has gained fans among millennials in Singapore, inspiring them to ignore their parents’ warnings and get their hands dirty – literally. A freegan is defined as someone who rejects consumerism and seeks to reduce waste, especially by retrieving and reusing discarded items, often in dumpsters. Currently, there is a Facebook group called Freegan in Singapore with about 1,100 members. Set up last year by Daniel Tay, 38, a financial planner, the age range of the group is from the twenties to the fifties with members from all walks of life. Notably, over 500 members in the group are from the 20- to 34-year-old age bracket.
Rice and noodles are some of the mainstay leftovers at buffets on NTU campus. The trend is not new, however, as students from various universities and polytechnics have been involved in such activities in the past. In 2009, students from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) created a private Facebook group to alert everyone in SUTD about leftover food at events.
Tristram Stuart is an international award-winning author, speaker and campaigner on the environmental and social impacts of food production. Food production is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions and the largest user of fresh water and a third of the world’s food supply is wasted each day. Singapore is no stranger to the global phenomenon of food wastage, as buffets for special occasions like weddings and birthdays seem to happen all the time. Indeed, there has been a 50-per-cent increase of food wastage in Singapore over the last decade.