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Food rescue goes digital with smart fridges in Bukit Timah and Bukit Gombak

11 Nov 2023 3 min read

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The Women’s Wing activists at the Bukit Timah and Bukit Gombak Branches of the People’s Action Party (PAP) introduced a pilot initiative to encourage food sustainability and active participation in combating food wastage in the community, with the launch of two smart fridges today – one in Toh Yi Drive estate within the Bukit Timah constituency, and another in Guilin estate within the Bukit Gombak constituency.

While food rescue efforts are growing in popularity, they typically involve physical distribution at fixed locations and timings – this constrains the number of people who can collect the food and poses manpower bottlenecks for organisers. Deploying smart fridges at easily accessible locations allows food rescue participants to collect the food at timings convenient to them, while going digital enables inventory to be tracked and communicated to participants on a more timely basis.

Supported by partners iJooz Pte Ltd and Ryan’s Grocery, this pilot explores ways for Branch activists to bring food rescue initiatives to their constituents on a 24/7 basis through the smart fridges, which will be continuously replenished with safe-to-consume food products before their best-consumed date. Residents can access these fridges by signing up online and may collect up to five free products per month.

Speaking on the pilot, Ms Sim Ann, Chairwoman of PAP Women’s Wing and Branch Chair of PAP Bukit Timah division (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) said, “The PAP Women’s Wing wants to empower our constituents in making Singapore more sustainable, and that includes tackling food wastage. These smart fridges help make food rescue more convenient for residents and more efficient for organisers. We are encouraged that close to 500 residents are now members of our smart fridge community through word of mouth alone. Although the project’s key objective is to reduce food waste and promote sustainability, the free food products also mean some savings for our participants. We will share this experience with more Women’s Wing branches and encourage them to serve their constituents in similar ways.”

Ms Low Yen Ling, Vice-Chairwoman of PAP Women’s Wing and Branch Chair of PAP Bukit Gombak division (Chua Chu Kang GRC) added, “Food close to expiring often ends up being dumped and incinerated, adding to a landfill running out of space. With the community fridge, we aim to rescue food from being wasted and, at the same time, raise greater awareness in Bukit Gombak about food wastage and how everyone, from retailers to residents, can play a part in mitigating waste. We can prevent and reduce food waste at the source by planning our supplies, purchases, consumption, and storage of food more thoughtfully and carefully.”

Given the positive reception to the pilot, both Branches and the Women’s Wing will be sharing their experience with more Branches in preparation for project expansion.