Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, where Muslims observe a strict fast from sunrise to sundown. While it is a time of moderation and reflection, fasting can unintentionally lead to food waste when over catering for family events and restaurants.
For councils, food waste is a particularly weighty subject. Food waste tends to be especially heavy because of the water content and overfilled general waste bins can break when being lifted. Not only is a broken bin inconvenient, it can lead to unpleasant food, liquids and rubbish spilled all over the street.
Coupled with the fact that organic material is highly recyclable, it makes good environmental and economic sense to recycle unavoidable food waste or better yet, avoid wastage in the first place.
Here are our top tips to prevent and minimise food waste during Ramadan:
Prepare a meal plan
A meal plan can help you make full use of the ingredients you already have at home and set the stage for overall healthier break fast meals. It can also cut down on the impulse to overspend and buy more than what you need, indirectly reducing the waste from excess packaging.
Bonus tip: Include leftovers from your dinners the night before in your meal plan so you don’t need to rush to prepare the morning meal.
No shopping on an empty stomach
Research has shown that shopping when hungry can lead to impulse purchases. Instead, consider doing your weekly shop after breaking your fast or early in the day shortly after your fast begins so you’re less likely to impulse buy (and overspend!).
Bonus tip: Choose foods with longer shelf life whenever possible to reduce the risk of food going bad before you’ve had a chance to cook.
Share or donate leftover food
If you have overcooked or found yourself with a lot of leftover food, consider sharing them with friends and neighbours. You can also check with your local mosque to see if they will accept extra food for the sunset break fast session.
Bonus tip: Contact food rescue charities and local shelters to see if you can donate your excess meals to those in need or get creative with leftover food and use them in your next meal.
Compost leftover food
If you do not have access to food organics bin in your area, consider turning your food waste into compost, especially if you have a garden. Check out our guide to creating compost at home.
Operating a restaurant, canteen or grocery?
During Ramadan, restaurants, canteens and hotels might offer break fast packages with multiple-course meals. This format tends to lead to people ordering too much food that they cannot finish. Anticipating demand can also be a tricky affair, with food and beverage operators often resorting to ‘playing it by ear’ when it comes to menu prep.
If waste is unavoidable, businesses can contact us for a commercial recycling service where organic material is turned into high quality compost and soil conditioners or electricity to power homes. It may even reduce the cost of your general waste service! Speak to our experts by letting us know your details here (for commercial/business customers only).
Cleanaway would like to wish all our Muslim friends a blessed Ramadan.