This year on 4th June, Muslims all around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr (or the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’), which takes place at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Lasting around three days, the festival is oriented around being thankful, spending time with family and friends, sharing delicious food and getting dressed up in your finest. Another Eid tradition is ‘Zakat al-Fitr’, or giving money to the poor, as is practicing forgiveness and making amends. All-in-all, Eid is a time for feeling - and doing - good.
So, when it comes to the planet, how can you ensure that it receives that same respect and gratitude so characteristic of Eid? With any celebration there can be extravagance, leading to waste and pollution of the environment. However, there are some ‘easy wins’ which help reduce the impact your Eid celebrations have on the planet, without reducing any of the enjoyment. In fact, it should boost the enjoyment, since research shows that doing good for the planet releases ‘feel good’ hormones. Win-win!
Read on for a few tips on how to make your Eid more eco-friendly this year.
1) Don’t let good food go to waste
When it comes to leftovers, we all know there’s a lot we can do to avoid them, or use them up. First off, try not to over-purchase your ingredients so you’re not overwhelmed by leftovers. (Remember: reduce first, before banking on reusing or recycling.) However, if you do end up with some extra portions, there are multiple ways you can make use of them. Trying freezing what you can, or use A&O’s fave beeswax wrap to store stuff in the fridge. Alternatively, you can always rustle up a roasted veg medley, some soup or share the surplus with those in need, your neighbours, colleagues or friends. Who could say no to delicious, free food?
2) Choose organic and fair trade
When it comes to food, home-grown, locally-farmed, organic or fair trade produce has a lower impact on the planet than that which is not. If you’re living in a city, and it’s unlikely you will acquire an allotment any time soon, don’t worry - you can check out your local farmers market for great quality, sustainable produce. There is a useful directory here for those of you who are London-based. It’s very possible to get organic halal meat, too. Just check with your butcher!
The same principle goes for clothing, too. If you buy something new, try checking out a local charity shop first (you can get some very stylish bargains), or perhaps opt for one of a range of retailers which stock ethical, fair trade clothing - like Shukr. Supporting local craftspeople is another great way to reduce your footprint, too, as this usually means the clothes have a shorter supply chain. You could also make your own clothes (if you’re skilled in that area), or do a clothes swap with friends. Fun and fruitful.
3) Go plastic free
When it comes to big gatherings it can be tempting to default to plastic cutlery and plates. Instead, opt for reusable cutlery (if you don’t have enough, ask friends to bring some along - they will get into the spirit, too!). If you can’t risk going without a stash of spares, choose biodegradable versions like those from Little Cherry.
Bring out the ‘eco’ in ‘decorations’ by choosing those made out of more eco materials, such as recycled paper. You can also try making your own if you’re feeling crafty, or simply reuse the same decorations year-on-year to avoid any waste.
Gift-giving can also ramp up your carbon footprint during the festive period. So why not treat your loved ones to an eco-friendly gift this year? Check out our shop for some inspiration - from toiletries, to everyday bags, to beeswax wraps. Also, take note of what your wrapping paper is made out of - often it’s not recyclable because plastic is integrated into the paper or dyes. Try using old newspaper or plain, recycled brown paper as a more eco alternative (plus, both look cute and retro).
Don’t forget, you can make your impact spread even further by explaining to your guests what you’re doing to make your Eid (and your year generally) more sustainable and why. By enlightening loved ones, perhaps they will start to employ the same eco-behaviours themselves, and so your impact spreads wider.
Have a very happy celebration, and please do share with us your eco Eid ideas, too!
Lydia Paris is a London based writer and content marketing consultant. Get in touch through email@example.com
© Lydia Paris and Atlas & Ortus, 2019