As part of Raffles City Singapore’s Project Green initiative, Gen.T organised a panel discussion on the impact of food and packaging waste on the environment—and how to address it with technology

On July 29, we hosted a panel discussion to raise awareness about the impact of the food and packaging industries on the environment. 

Organised as part of Raffles City Singapore’s Project Green initiative, the session was held at the atrium space on the third floor of the integrated complex. 

There, a showcase has also been erected since July 8 to shed light on Raffles City’s sustainability plans and efforts, which include encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable bags and tenants to reduce their waste. Masterclasses and upcycling workshops are also being held by the likes of Nespresso, L’occitane and Terra SG to educate shoppers on becoming more eco-conscious. The showcase runs until September 25.

Ng Pei Kang, the founder and CEO of sustainable packaging company Tria, and Robert Stirrup, director of culinary operations at Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel the Stamford, were part of the panel to share the solutions that they have individually implemented to help reduce the waste produced by the food and hospitality industries.

Read more: Sustainable Shopping: Learn How To Be A Mindful Consumer

For Stirrup, measures have been put in place to reduce the waste that is coming out of his kitchens, where he oversees some 400 staff across restaurants, bars and banquet spaces. “We did an audit of each kitchen to see what’s being thrown in the bin in terms of food waste,” he shared during the panel, adding that his team works closely with companies such as Lumitics to calculate this waste and identify ways to cut it down or cross-utilise it. 

At the two hotels, for instance, Stirrup and his team are experimenting with ways of using the food waste at the in-house aquaponics and herb farms. 

'gallery right' 'gallery right'
'gallery right' 'gallery right'
Photo 1 of 10 The Project Green showcase
Photo 2 of 10 Kee Wei Hui, Tan Szue Hann
Photo 3 of 10 Derek Lee
Photo 4 of 10 Mohammad Hossein Davood Abadi Farahani
Photo 5 of 10 Baristas preparing coffee at the Nespresso booth
Photo 6 of 10
Photo 7 of 10 Guests learning to pot a plant at the L'occitane booth
Photo 8 of 10 Gracia Yap
Photo 9 of 10 Canapes made from sustainably sourced ingredients prepared by Fairmont Singapore
Photo 10 of 10 Canapes made from sustainably sourced ingredients prepared by Fairmont Singapore

For businesses in the sustainability space, Ng advises that it is important to understand the constraints of the matter and find ways to navigate them.

“What’s the fastest way to create impact and change? [It] is to accept that single-use [plastics] are here to stay. Accept that as a constraint, then look at it from a systems perspective and ask what can be done. That’s how we [at Tria] look at [the packaging waste problem].”

He also encouraged the audience, most of who come from startups or organisations in the sustainability sector, to consider the way the human brain works when developing solutions: “We are hardwired to take the path of least resistance,” he said. “This shapes a lot of the lifestyles we see today. So we should first embrace this trait of ours, and then look for a solution, a technological breakthrough, and work on it. I think this is a progressive view of sustainability.”

Guests were also treated to a quick masterclass by French beauty brand L’occitane on how to pot a plant, while fragrant coffee by Nespresso and canapes made from sustainably sourced ingredients and prepared by Fairmont Singapore were served.

Read more about the Project Green initiative by Raffles City Singapore.

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