Green Street is proud to help create a Sustainable Open Iftar in Bradford Cathedral in 2023
The Green Street team were approached by the wonderful volunteers at Open Iftar and the Ramadan Tent project to help them to make this year’s Open Iftar 2023 Bradford events as sustainable as possible, and possibly even the most sustainable Open Iftar yet!
What is Open Iftar?
Open Iftar is the UK’s largest community event that takes place during Ramadan and allows Muslims observing Ramadan the opportunity to gather and break their fast together as well as providing a safe space for mutual dialogue and engagement with others from across various faiths and backgrounds.
These amazing, multi-faith events are open to all; inviting people from all walks of life and are all about bringing local communities together to encourage learning, sharing and turning strangers into friends.
The Green Street team love the ethos of the Open Iftar project and were honoured to be asked to take part. For us, it has been a chance to not only introduce our new Borrow* reusables cups and food boxes before the official Borrow* Bradford launch, but also an opportunity to learn and grow.
What we wanted to achieve through our work
Historically, there can be a lot of waste from large mass catered events and our aim this year was to achieve zero food waste and also ensure that we reuse or recycle everything from the event. We also wanted to use as many local suppliers and producers at the event which even included selecting cleaning materials made just down the road in Keighley.
This is achievable but requires careful planning and communication and working closely with suppliers. It also requires guests to change their behaviours from previous events.
The key changes which we made include:
- Celebrating the eco-credentials of each Bradford Open Iftar location. Bradford Cathedral even has renewable energy sources and eco-congregation credentials.
- Encouraging guests and volunteers to travel in a more sustainable way to the event with free entry to The Green Travel Raffle.
- We have used reusable cups, containers, cutlery and serving containers. This year all water was served in jugs and guests were provided with reusable Borrow* cups.
- We aimed for everything used at the event to be recycled or reused and we provided guests with information on how to do this and most importantly developing clear labelling for bins on site so everything could be sorted and segregated and recycled in the right way.
- We aimed for zero food waste by providing guests with a reusable food box to take any leftovers home and setting up distribution with local charities after the event. We organised for any partly eaten food waste to also be collected and turned into electricity.
- We have sourced local products where we can, and the main course and desserts were produced in Bradford.
- We aim to have zero single use plastic waste from the event by careful planning and selection of products, even down to how the napkins are packed and delivered.
- We wanted to inspire the guests at the Open Iftar to be more sustainable at home and share our learnings with others.
Hints and tips on how to reuse items from the event:
The food boxes provided at the events are made from robust polypropylene plastic. They are 100% reusable and can be washed 125+ times, and once they start to reach the end of life they are also fully recyclable.
You can reuse the boxes in a number of ways:
- Share food with family and friends
- Use as storage around the home
- Get ahead of your schedule and use for weekly food prep
- They make great seedling trays to start your home garden too.
Zam Zam Water
The Green Street team had not heard of Zam Zam water before so it’s been a great learning experience for us to find out more about it and its origin story. For those of you who may not know, Zam Zam water is blessed holy water. The source of the well is situated within Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and is 20 metres east of the Al-Kaaba, which is known as the holiest place in Islam.
Ideas to reuse your Zam Zam water bottle:
It makes a great:
Salad dressing bottle – on the go!
Don’t forget that glass is reusable and glass products can be repurposed in so many ways! The labels are designed to peel off easily and the bottles can also be recycled at the end of life.
Top tips from the Open Iftar to carry on being greener at home:
- Why not do your own green travel raffle at work for the week?
- Try composting for vegetable peelings and uncooked food waste
- Make the most of your recycling bins at home
- Carry a reusable water bottle and many businesses will fill it for free for you
- Support local businesses for shopping and dining which boosts our local economy and community
- Be creative with your leftovers and turn them into tasty delicious meals
Get involved and support our pioneering reusable scheme, Borrow* which is starting at the end of the month and we are so proud that Bradford will be the first pilot location in the UK!
Borrow* is a circular borrowing scheme offering an easy way to enjoy your takeaway food and drinks in reusable packaging, saving you money in the process.
Head to borrowforperks.co.uk to find out about all the Borrow* businesses taking part; you can find more about the scheme on social media and make sure to sign up to the newsletter for regular updates.
What have we learned so far ?
In taking part in this event, we have had the privilege to learn more about the spirit of Ramadan and the ways in which people gather together for a common cause. We have also been inspired by the Open Iftar team and volunteers and their willingness to learn and try new things to make this Open Iftar in Bradford a sustainable one.
We will write a follow up post to let you know how it all goes and reflections after the event too.
A huge thank you again goes out to the Open Iftar teams and volunteers for welcoming us on board, we can’t wait for the next Open Iftar event at Muṣṭafā Mount!