Should food waste be a crime in Malaysia?
Food waste is a major issue that affects the environment, economy, and society as a whole. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted each year. This amounts to approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, which is a significant amount considering the number of people around the world who go hungry each day.
In Malaysia , the picture below shows that we throw away 17,000 tans of food every day.
Given the severity of the problem, some people have called for food waste to be listed as a crime. But is this the right approach to tackling the issue? Let's discuss further why Green Hero agrees to it.
1) Why food waste should be listed as a crime ?
One of the main arguments for listing food waste as a crime is that it would increase awareness of the problem and encourage people to take action. If people knew that wasting food was a criminal offense such as getting fine or able to get jail terms or both , they may be more likely to take steps to reduce their food waste, such as planning meals more carefully, storing food properly, channel their edible food surplus to those in need and composting food scraps.
France and Italy have done so by making food waste a crime in their own country.
Another argument to list food waste as a crime is that it would send a strong message to businesses that they need to do more to reduce food waste. Food waste is a major issue in the hospitality industry, where large quantities of food are often prepared but not consumed. By making food waste a crime, businesses would be incentivized to take measures to reduce waste and ensure that edible food is being donated to those in need.
2) Why food waste shouldn't be a crime?
While the idea of listing food waste as a crime may seem appealing, there are several arguments against this approach. One of the main concerns is that it could lead to an increase in food fraud, as businesses try to avoid being charged with wasting food. They may be more likely to sell food that is past its expiration date or has been contaminated, which could have serious health consequences for consumers.
Another concern is that listing food waste as a crime could lead to an increase in food prices. If businesses are required to pay fines or face criminal charges for wasting food, they may pass these costs onto consumers by including it in the menu as part of a hidden cost. This could make it more difficult for low-income families to access healthy food, exacerbating food insecurity.
Finally, some people argue that listing food waste as a crime is not the most effective way to tackle the issue. Instead, they we should focus on education. Education is the key to educating people about the importance of reducing food waste and providing them with the tools and resources they need to do so. This could include initiatives such as community composting programs, food recovery networks, and public awareness campaigns on food rescue organizations such as Green Hero. This may seem like a long plan that will require a lot of effort. There's a saying that says,
" Rome wasn't built in a day".
In conclusion, Green Hero believe the idea of listing food waste as a crime may seem like a good way to address the issue, but it is important to consider the potential unintended consequences of this approach. While we need to take action to reduce food waste, criminalizing it may not be the best solution. Instead, we should focus on educating people about the importance of reducing food waste and providing them with the resources they need to do so. By working together, we can reduce food waste and ensure that everyone has access to healthy, nutritious food.