It’s that time of year again where every Malaysians go all out on various sweet and savoury foods calling out our names. However, in all honesty, does you know the amount of waste produced during Ramadan bazaars? Despite the yummy fried food and freshly cooked dishes, there are also a whole lot of food waste! In fact, Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) has reported that 270,000 tonnes of food contribute to landfill during the Ramadan month, which could possibly feed 180 million people 😱. Not only a few hundred thousand tonnes of food waste but the usage of single-use cutleries, cups and containers are contributing to the Malaysian landfills too.
It is almost ingrained in our minds that a Ramadan bazaar could generate less waste and say goodbye to disposables and single-use plastics. It can be a practice for Malaysians to create a habit that’ll not only favor the environment, but also bring convenience to them in time.
Hence, in the month that taught us the moral of moderation and discipline, we were excited to gather the community and lead by example by visiting one of the best bazaars at Kampung Baru. It took place on 29 May, this year during Ramadan at approximately 5pm and we waited for everyone to buka puasa 😋.
Is a zero waste Ramadan bazaar possible?
Most people might feel uncomfortable when trying to buy food or drinks with their own container/bottle just because they feel odd and afraid the rest will look at them differently. For the same reason, we took this challenge as an opportunity to show the Malaysians that a zero waste Ramadan bazaar is an easy task, if it’s done right (In a fun way). Let’s look at four easy tips to go zero waste during Ramadan bazaar.
BYOC or bring your own container, bottle or even reusable bag so you’re prepared for the mouthwatering foods and countless drinks! You could use a reusable grocery bag to carry purchased foods, containers to takeaway any freshly cooked food and reusable cups for the drinks you’d like to tapao.
While you are thinking to opt for a package-free food, politely say “NO” to any packaged food, drinks or snacks. Don’t worry about not having your favourite kuih, it is very likely you’ll see the same one in different stalls without any packages in a different stall. And often you will get some discount 🤑 on bringing your own.
Not finishing or throwing away food should be reduced drastically as it contributing to our landfills. Not only that we deprive food for the ones in need, but it also depletes the resources and promotes environmental degradation. It’s always good to buy what you need and not overbuy the foods provided at the bazaar. You will not only be saving money but also reducing food waste subsequently.
The best way to do with food scrap is to not have it in the first place. If there are any unavoidable food scraps such as fruit peels, chicken bones and other, it’s always best to compost them instead of throwing them away. Putting your food scrap into compost bin is highly beneficial to the environment while lowering carbon footprint.
Always find courage to ask for a favour politely from the hawkers. They would be more than happy to fulfil your request instead of turning you down. Don’t forget to say thank you to them and give them a warm smile 😊 in return.
We successfully saved 96 disposables from the landfill within just a few hours. It is powerful to encourage and inspire others to take action in adopting the plastic-free habit. Each one of us might can’t make a difference but together, we can make the change.
We were also delighted to have Astro AEC who did this together with us to document the zero waste Ramadan bazaar and widen the exposure on this particular opportunity.