5 Inventions That Are Tackling Food Waste in Singapore

Energy & Sustainability Science

Making in Singapore: Creating Positive Social Impact 

Singapore has one of the most active maker communities in the region.There are many makerspaces, FabLabs, and creative spaces opening up in Singapore. This means there is a lot of opportunity for those in Singapore to not only learn how to make, but also include making as part of their lifestyles.

One of the key players in the maker movement in Singapore is Sustainable Living Lab, the first makerspace to open both in Singapore and in the region. With their unique method of creating social impact through making, they are best known for leading and designing the SEA Makerthon 2016 with the support of the Southeast Asia Makerspace Network and participating local makerspace partners.

SEA Makerthon 2016: Singapore
The makerthon in Singapore, held on the 24th to 25th of September, is the seventh out of the ten makerthons to be run through June to October 2016. Based on the concept of “Designing A World With Zero Waste”, teams in Singapore were challenged to create solutions to tackle food waste. As a city of 5 million, Singapore is abundant with food and food choices. This has led to an increase of food being thrown away even in perfectly good conditions. According to the National Environment Agency of Singapore, only 13% of all food thrown away is recycled.

The makerthon in Singapore was co-organized by OneMaker Group, a makerspace ecosystem developer that aims to grow communities of active makers and learners both locally and regionally. To give participants a clearer idea of the food wastage problem in Singapore, industry representatives, Sodexo and Enerprof shared their insights about the challenges they faced in t heir operations.

Held at UWCSEA@East Campus, the teams had the opportunity to also visit the Sodexo kitchen facility to learn about the how chefs and kitchen staff try to prevent overproduction of meals. Enerprof also shared with the teams about how poor food segregation in Singapore leads to a low recycling rate.

Over the course of two days, teams had to brainstorm different solutions in reducing overproduction, post-consumer waste or automating food and waste segregation.

Participants registering on event day.
All ready to be led onto the kitchen tour at the Sodexo facility at UWCSEA@East Campus.
Special thanks to Chef Arun and Vijay the manager of the Sodexo facility at UWCSEA@East Campus.
Vijay explaining the food waste bins being prototypes to encourage consumers at the canteen to be more aware of the food they are throwing away.
Brainstorming with cookies always help the process.
This makerthon featured a number of prototypes using electronics.
We all get by with a little help from our friends.

5 Interesting Inventions at the Singapore makerthon!
The most interesting part of open innovation competitions organized by makers for makers is the prototypes! With a emphasis on hardware, teams were pushed by their friendly and talented mentors to make tangible products. Cardboard, electronics and some ingenuity contributed to the ideas that were displayed during the makerthon. For all the photos of the teams and the excitement during the event, do check out the photos at our facebook album.

Team Fitchen 

Team Fitchen and their IoT inventory management system. It has a holographic feature at the back which shows your item in 3D. Can you spot the jellyfish?

Team Fitchen created an IoT inventory management system that aims to help kitchen staff increase efficiency by reducing the need to do stock taking manually. Kitchen staff can easily check inventory from the comforts of their own office. Currently a lot of inventory checking is done manually. Chefs and kitchen staff would need to come back on weekends to check if any food in the store is about to expire or if they are still fit for consumption.

The device features a hologram which can project a 3D image of the food inside the fridge without the need to open it.  It can be easily installed using sensors and is affordable for industrial kitchens.

Team Fitchen consists of best friends Albert Puah, Durwin Ho, Yan Sheng and Raymond Doraisamy who enjoy spending time with each other during competitions such as this and at the gym. They have an efficient method of working and learning together.

Team Foodeo

The team that pulled through! Team Foodeo went through several idea changes through the 2 days. They were the only team to attempt to innovate for reducing post-consumer food waste.

Team Foodeo designed a gamified return system that encourages consumers to separate their cutlery, trays, and plates from waste. Keeping in mind the students at the UWCSEA East Campus Sodexo facility, the system can be programmed to thank students in different languages for responsibly sorting out their waste. It is also programmed to have a superhero theme where the system emits encouraging superhero sounds and quotes to praise students for sorting their food from their waste.

Team Foodcycle

Segregation of waste in Singapore is very low. Recycling in Singapore is also co-mingled. This means that workers need to manually separate their waste. Team Food Cycle wants to provide a partially automated way of separating plastics.

Team Foodcycle believes that there is a lot of room for innovation when it comes to solving the food waste issues in Singapore, and are looking at solutions to target the upstream production of food waste. They created a mobile smart bin that helps reduce the need for intensive manual segregation of waste especially food waste. The spikey part of the machine as you can see is where plastics such as plastic bags are removed and separated from food.

Team Experience Kai

They hacked an iron to get a heating element for their prototype. Who says you need to create everything from scratch?

Using thermal sensing and machine learning, Team Experience Kai wants to create a machine that is able to learn how to segregate food waste by sensing their temperature and their weight. There are many industrial machines that use this technology, but there are very few that cater specifically to look into food waste. They were probably inspired by the Japanese cucumber farmer who hacked his own cucumber sorting machine using artificial intelligence!

Team JSV

The amount of food waste on airlines everyday is staggering. Team JSV hopes to change that one airline at a time!

Unused or unconsumed food from airlines is not commonly thought about. In 2013 alone, over 6.3 billion passengers traveled by air, producing more than 3.15 million tons of waste. However, Singapore has good infrastructure and is moving towards a smart nation, so food waste should be something that can be solved. They have created a solution that can tackle food waste on flights through better understanding of consumer preference and providing choice to consumers at the right intervention points.


The SEA Makerthon 2016 is a 10 city hackathon addressing the Zero Waste Challenge that will see over 1000 participants across 10 South East Asian Cities, each solving waste issues pertaining to their city such as electronics, food, agriculture, packaging and more. Sustainable Living Lab is proud to be the social innovation partner for the SEA Makerthon 2016 in leading the conversation about the Circular Economy in the region.

To find out more, join the Southeast Asian Makerspace Network.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).