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Preventing Food Waste this Ramadan

by ikalmayang

As Malaysians, the best aspect of celebrating diverse cultures is the food. We all know that Ramadan bazaars are most commonly the main attractions that all of us, regardless of race or religion, can enjoy. 

As we prepare to feast our eyes (and tummies) with delicious food widely available this month, it’s important to acknowledge a significant challenge that often goes overlooked: food waste. 

In fact, according to The Rakyat Post, 35.45% or 2,892 of over 8,000 tons of total waste disposed daily during Ramadan were food waste in 2023. That is a staggering number – especially when much of the food being thrown out could have been reduced, or even reused. 

During Ramadan, it’s not uncommon for households to find themselves grappling with excess food, whether it’s due to over-purchasing ingredients, cooking larger quantities than necessary, or simply failing to utilize leftovers effectively. This abundance can lead to significant wastage, not only squandering precious resources but also undermining the spirit of moderation and mindfulness that Ramadan seeks to cultivate.

To address this issue, let’s try and foster a culture of mindful consumption during Ramadan. Here are some very doable and practical strategies to minimize food waste: 

1. Plan Your Meals Wisely:

For those fasting, take some time to plan your iftar and suhoor meals thoughtfully. Consider your family’s preferences, dietary requirements, and portion sizes to avoid overbuying or preparing more food than needed. By creating a meal plan and shopping list, you can ensure that you purchase only what is necessary, reducing the likelihood of food waste.

2. Optimize Leftovers:

Rather than discarding leftovers, get creative with how you repurpose them into new dishes. Leftover rice can be transformed into savory fried rice, while vegetables can be incorporated into hearty soups or salads. Proper storage is key to preserving the quality and safety of leftovers, so be sure to refrigerate or freeze them promptly.

3. Practice Portion Control:

During meal preparation and consumption, be mindful of portion sizes to avoid serving more food than is needed. Encourage family members to take only what they can comfortably eat, minimizing leftovers that may go to waste. By practicing portion control, you not only reduce food waste but also promote healthier eating habits.

4. Engage in Community Sharing:

The spirit of generosity and community lies at the heart of Ramadan, so consider sharing excess food with neighbors, friends, or those in need. Organize communal iftars where everyone contributes a dish, or donate surplus food to local charities or food banks. By sharing resources with others, you not only prevent food waste but also spread kindness and compassion within your community.

5. Compost Food Scraps:

For unavoidable food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, consider starting a composting system at home. Composting not only diverts organic waste from landfills but also produces nutrient-rich compost that can be used to enrich soil and nourish plants. By composting food scraps, you close the loop on the food cycle and contribute to environmental sustainability.

While partaking in purchasing delicious delicacies during Ramadan is a practice, it’s important to be mindful and responsible in your consumption. Resources are scarce, and we as Malaysians need to do our due diligence in ensuring moderation and empathy, especially during these trying times in other parts of the world. 

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