From Plate to Mouth – Bo Qing Ong

Reducing consumer-end food wastage

As you are reading this with a plate of food in front of you, take a moment to consider the journey the food takes, from farm to factory to our kitchen and finally on the very plate you’re eating from. Sadly, one-third of the food produced do not end up in people’s stomach and is wasted instead. Food wastage occurs at many points along the production the line. While many of these are out of our immediate control, we can reduce consumer-end food wastage. When you discard edible food, so much more goes to waste. What is at stake is the water needed to grow the food and fuel for transporting the food. Food waste does not magically vanish. Another trip is needed to transport them away. What a waste of energy! Decomposing food gives off methane, a greenhouse gas.

What can you do?


  • Take only what you need. When serving yourself, take only what you think you can finish. Often, we take more food than our appetite can handle. If unsure, just take less. Seconds (or even thirds) will always be waiting for you.
  • Communicate clearly to serving staff. When being served, communicate clearly to the CaterCare staff how much you wish to eat. A simple ‘less’, ‘more’ or ‘half the amount’, will go a long way in reducing food wastage.
  • Take leftovers from neighbouring tables at High Table and Community Dinners. Food safety guidelines dictates that any food that has left the kitchen must be discarded if not consumed. If you’re still hungry after your firsts, check if there are any leftovers at the tables near you before asking the kitchen.


Statistically speaking, young consumers aged 18 to 24 are one of the biggest wasters of food in Australia. Let’s do things differently and buck this trend at International House.

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