Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and charitable acts. However, certain human practices during this month can generate a lot of waste and unhealthy practices. Here are some tips on how to have a sustainable, waste-free, and healthy Ramadan:
1. Reduce Food Waste:
Plan your meals ahead of time, make a grocery list, and only buy what you need. Cook enough food for Iftaar and Suhoor, and if there are leftovers, store them properly to avoid spoilage. Donate excess food to the needy, share with your neighbours, or compost food scraps. Wastage is highly disliked in Islam.
2. Support Local and Small Business Operators:
Opt for locally grown, fresh and seasonal foods. Choose foods that have been produced in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner, for our own benefit and for the environment. Try to support small local businesses over big corporate chains as you would be supporting a family rather than the bonus of the CEO of a big corporate.
3. Practice Healthy Eating Habits:
Avoid overeating and consuming excessive amounts of sugary or processed foods. Instead, focus on eating whole foods, fruits, salads, that are nutrient-dense and nourishing for your body. After fasting for an entire day, oily and processed foods can be quite overwhelming for our metabolic system.
4. Use Reusable Containers, Water-bottles and Utensils:
Instead of disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, use reusable ones. Bring your own containers when getting takeaways from restaurants. Not only this is waste-free but healthy as well since you are avoiding the nasty toxic chemicals from plastic containers. When going for communal Iftaar, take your own water bottle and avoid plastic disposable bottle and cups.
5. Reduce Water Wastage:
Be mindful of water usage when preparing meals, washing dishes, Showers, and performing ablution. Fix any leaks or drips, and consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucets. Try to reuse waste water in the garden.
6. Conserve Energy:
Turn-off lights and electronics when not in use. Consider fasting from social media and gadgets to reduce energy consumption and purify the soul.
7. Use Plastic-free and Sustainable Decoration:
We all love to decorate our homes to welcome Ramadan but in doing so just make a conscious decision to look for materials that plastic-free, that either can be reused in future or would not end-up in landfill. There are plenty of ideas available on internet from making paper lanterns to candle holders to greeting cards from sustainable material.
8. Donate to Charities focusing on Sustainable and Environmental issues:
Consider donating a part to charities focusing on sustainable and environmentally-friendly projects like planting trees, providing clean water, renewable electricity, creating sustainable jobs etc.
9. Reduce Carbon Footprint:
Carpool or combine errands to reduce the number of trips you make. Plant some trees, volunteer at your local Mosque or community garden.
Honestly speaking, we should try to do all this throughout the year. But Insha Allah if we start and make an effort during Ramadan, Allah (SWT) would reward us for all these efforts as well.