SINGAPORE: A video showing a woman picking up discarded packaged bread from a green trash can outside an HDB block has caused a stir online. The video originally shared on the Singapore Incidents Facebook page, has ignited a heated debate among netizens over the woman’s actions, with some expressing sympathy for her situation while others voiced concerns about hygiene and food waste.

The video, which was accompanied by a subtitle that read, “This kind of thing still happens in Singapore? In order to survive, she picked up the bread that the bakery threw into the trash can?” showed the woman carefully inspecting the discarded bread before placing it into a plastic bag she was holding.

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Singaporeans online had mixed reactions to the video. Some sympathized with the woman, suggesting she may be struggling financially and trying to make ends meet.

Others proposed she might be a “food rescuer” who aims to share the discarded bread with others or feed stray animals. They argued that reducing food waste should be a priority, and there is nothing inherently wrong with salvaging edible items from the trash.

On the other hand, some raised hygiene concerns, asserting that retrieving food from trash cans poses significant health risks. They argued that bakeries should adopt alternative methods, such as placing unsold bread outside the store for people to take or donating it to those in need, rather than simply discarding it.

Members of the local Freeganism movement emphasized the importance of understanding the context behind the woman’s actions. They pointed out that her actions shed light on the alarming amount of edible food that continues to be thrown away in the area and encouraged consumers to support initiatives that aim to donate unsold food to those in need.

Food rescue organization Divert For 2nd Life (D2L) has also stressed that there are numerous ways to handle surplus food, and each approach reflects a commitment to respecting and conserving the Earth’s resources. They emphasized that such actions should not be seen as acts of desperation.

One food rescue volunteer emphasized the importance of knowing the source of discarded food. “I’m more careful about what’s in the trash because I don’t know where it comes from,” he explained to Channel 8 news, highlighting the need for caution when salvaging food items.

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