Cut size of banquets to save food waste

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2011, 12:00am


The food wasted at wedding banquets amounts to tossing out every dish served to three out of 20 tables of diners, on average, Friends of the Earth reported yesterday.

'We visited wedding banquets and found that the last few dishes, usually fried rice and noodles, are left untouched,' Michelle Au Wing-tsz, the green group's senior environment officer, said.

Last year Friends of the Earth visited four banquets for weddings and companies, weighing the leftover food from 104 tables. They found that an average of 3.8kg of food was tossed away from each table - for a total of 76kg for a 20-table banquet - enough food to serve three tables, Au said.

The group suggested courses be reduced from 12 to 10 at such events, an idea supported, it said, by almost 60 per cent of the 276 people it polled at a wedding gown expo in April.

About 77 per cent of those polled - largely couples planning their weddings - said they had noticed the waste at banquets they had attended.

But 83 per cent of respondents worried their parents and in-laws would object that serving two fewer courses would make the banquet look shabby.

Even so, young couples are increasingly willing to opt for the less wasteful option, they said.

It's a problem facing Quintina Ho Nga-yee and her fianc?, Char Kong Cheuk-him, as they plan their wedding in March.

'My parents didn't agree to 10 courses at first, but then I reminded them that they had gone through hard times too, and they understand that food shouldn't be wasted,' said the 28-year-old bride-to-be.

She added that although there will be fewer dishes, they will be serving more expensive fare such as high-quality seafood, to avoid feeling like they were being cheap.

Angel Kwong Hung, president of the Wedding Management Association, said there was a growing trend to serve fewer dishes at wedding banquets, to reduce waste, and to use other environmentally friendly elements in weddings.

They include outdoor venues to save on air-conditioning and lighting, using recycled or natural decorations, and eco-friendly gowns made from corn fibres.

The association helped to organise more than 300 green weddings this year to September - an increase from about 210 for all of last year, said Kwong.


This proportion of respondents to the survey say their families would think serving less food at their weddings will make them look cheap