Manama: A charity society in Saudi Arabia has warned that the “culture of excess” was still prevalent in the country after it assessed that up to 4,500 tonnes of food is wasted every day.

“Most of the food that is not consumed is thrown away instead of given to needy families or individuals,” Nadia Al Dojan, a member of Al Bir Charity Association, said. “Unfortunately, the culture of excess is still strong within a large number of Saudi families, even those with limited financial income, and especially during the sacred month of Ramadan. Ever family can feed at least one person throughout the month,” she said, quoted by local daily Al Eqtisadiya on Tuesday.

The activist said that there were “positive examples” of people who offered food to labourers and to the poor, but added that the sight of rice thrown in rubbish bins was “shocking”. Large banquets and daily buffets offered by restaurants and hotels were the main source of food waste, she said.

According to another charity association, around 30 per cent of the four million dishes prepared daily in Ramadan in the Eastern Province of the Saudi kingdom were wasted. “This amounts to around 1.2 million riyals,” Al Itam (Feeding) said. “Around 6,000 families have benefited from the programme we have launched to use the excess food from banquets in restaurants and hotels.”

The association was founded on an initiative by Saudi businessmen in the Eastern Province keen on instilling the culture of food banks in the society.