Abu Dhabi: Food waste in the UAE tends to increase over Ramadan, a trend that is counterintuitive to the accountability and reflection taught by the holy month.
As residents meet friends and family over shared meals, a surplus of food is cooked and served, and much of it invariably ends up in bins afterwards.
Authorities across the country are therefore calling on residents to cook and eat judiciously, shop sensibly and to donate or share extra food.
The National Food Loss and Waste Initiative – ne’ma is aiming to halve food waste in the UAE by 2030. Ensuring more conscious behaviour over Ramadan is likely to be a major part of this goal. The authority has therefore been sharing some key tips for residents over the past three weeks.
“The National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, ne’ma, is encouraging the community to be mindful of food waste during Ramadan, by sharing, donating and saving extra food, supporting the UAE’s vision to preserve food resources for a sustainable future,” the authority said.
The authority highlighted some alarming statistics about world hunger and food waste on its social media profiles to urge greater sustainability and mindfulness, including the fact that up to 40 per cent of edible food ends up in landfills. This food waste is a key contributor to climate change.
In Abu Dhabi, food waste increases by up to eight per cent by the end of Ramadan. The Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre – Tadweer said this accounts for 1,000 to 1,500 tons of food waste.
Minimising food waste
Ne’ma has shared some key tips to minimise food waste:
-Ask for smaller portions. It is better to order again that to end up with wasted food.
-Repurpose your leftovers using easy recipes.
-Check your fridge, and use perishable foods before they spoil.
-Shop smart. Make a list before you shop so you can avoid ending up with items you won’t use or consume.
-Give your food to someone who needs it. Sharing is indeed caring.
-Compost food scraps and landfills to help keep organic waste out of landfills.
-A third of the world’s food is squandered.
-Up to 40 per cent of edible food ends up in landfills
-Nearly 70 per cent of global food waste is made up of uneaten food that is perfectly edible.
-We can reduce seven per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing our food waste. Eliminating global food waste would save 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
-If every household saves, shares, or donates its excess food, it would contribute to 61% reduction in food loss and waste.