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Fighting Food Waste in Penang: Why F&B Fines, Food Banks and Green Hero are Essential?

Penang is famous for its food but there is a dark side like any bustling food hub, it grapples with the problem of food waste. How much food waste do we waste in Penang? It is close to a million kg!

It's time to tackle this issue now because why waste edible food when we can feed people with it? Haven't we read the news that there are people in hunger or perhaps there are shortages of some raw ingredients and yet we have the privilege of wasting food? That doesn't make any sense and that is why we need to change the way we handle edible leftovers. 

A System in Need of Change

Currently, much of the perfectly edible food discarded by Penang's F&B establishments ends up in landfills. This contributes to overflowing landfills, the release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas), and wasting valuable resources used to produce that food. Let's stop wasting food and feed those in need or sell them at a discounted price on their last call so people can save more for less. 

Thus, I strongly urged the Penang State Government to consider imposing fines on the F&B sectors. 

Fines: A Wake-Up Call for F&B


1) Accountability: It creates a financial incentive for businesses to minimize waste and invest in better inventory management and portion control.

2) Fairness: Responsible businesses shouldn't be at a disadvantage compared to those who carelessly waste food.

3) Revenue for Solutions: Money collected from fines could fund composting programs, education campaigns, and the work of vital food banks.

4) Food Rescue Heroes: Green Hero & Food Banks

Of course, fines must be part of a broader solution focused on rescuing edible food. This is where initiatives like Green Hero and Malaysia's network of food banks play a crucial role.

  • Green Hero: This platform connects eateries with surplus food to eager consumers at massively discounted prices. Their "Discount Hour" strategy is genius! This benefits businesses, consumers, and the environment.

  • Food Banks: Organizations like The Food Bank Malaysia, Food Aid Foundation, and numerous local initiatives rescue quality food and redistribute it to those in need. These are the front lines of fighting hunger.

'What's the Call to Action?

Here's what we need to do in Penang:

1) F&B Businesses: Embrace waste reduction strategies. Partner with Green Hero and donate surplus food to food banks.


2) Consumers: Support establishments that are conscious of their food footprint. Use the Green Hero platform and save the food during discount hour or call them to rescue your extra edible food from events or your F&B outlets with no charges at all.

3) Government: Enact fines for excessive food waste in the F&B sector. Support the expansion of food rescue programs and food banks.

Furthermore, several countries and regions have implemented fines or regulations targeting food waste:

  • France: A pioneer in this area, France passed a law in 2016 making it illegal for supermarkets to discard unsold food. Instead, they must donate it to charities or use it for composting/animal feed.

  • Italy: Italian cities like Milan have systems where fines are imposed for food waste, particularly for businesses.

  • South Korea: Residents pay for food waste disposal based on the weight of the waste they generate. This system has been effective in reducing food waste significantly.

pic by WEF

pic from ,The Guardian

Lastly, by imposing fines, making it mandatory for F&B in Penang to donate or to do Discount Hour on their last call to clear off their edible food surplus is the best & fastest way for us to solve the edible leftovers from ending up in the landfills. It has been for so many decades that F&B waste food like it is nothing to them but little did they know it has a big negative impact to both society & the environment. We hope with the fines in place, the mandatory policies will change the F&B habit of dealing with their unsold edible food.

Together, we have a chance to show Malaysia and the world how Penang can take the lead in reducing food waste. By combining smart regulations with the spirit of innovation and community action, we can make Penang a place where great food and a healthy planet go hand in hand, and where no one goes hungry.

(rescued some premium pastries for charity)

Let's save Malaysia! Share this with your friend in the F&B sector for a wake-up call and convince them to stop wasting food and partner with a local food rescue such as Green Hero.

Together with you, we stop food waste.

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