As the sun sets on a cool April evening, the azaan, or Islamic call to prayer, fills the prayer hall on Sunset Trail in Conroe. The congregants of Dawoodi Bohra of the Woodlands gather in the prayer hall to offer their evening prayers. Soon after, their day-long fast is broken with dates, sweetened milk, hot tea, and cookies. This year though, iftar, the meal at sunset, takes on a novel appearance. Congregants’ prayer mats are lined with travel mugs, waste is collected in green compostable bags, and there are lots of signs around the hall informing of the dos and don’ts of composting. The Dawoodi Bohras of the Woodlands have kicked off their “Zero-Waste Ramadan Initiative,” focusing efforts on the traditional 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours, committing their focus to worship, good deeds, and cleansing the soul. In the Woodlands, that means doing our part to protect the Earth. This year, the overlap of Ramadan and Earth Month provided the perfect background to make substantial changes to cut back on landfill waste.
Firstly, community members drastically cut down on the usage of disposable goods. Individuals were encouraged to bring a reusable travel mug for milk and tea – with compostable cups offered for those who need them. A shift has been made away from plastic disposable goods to ceramic dinnerware, further cutting down on the waste generated. All napkins, date seeds, crumbs, bones, seeds, and paper tablecloths are collected in green compostable bags which are delivered to a local industrial composting company, Zero Waste of the Woodlands. As a result, landfill waste from our community center has been reduced by 90% through thoughtful reductions, recycling when possible, and composting!
The community is energized by everyone’s willingness to lean into this endeavor. A sense of responsibility for safeguarding the Almighty’s bounties and this beautiful planet has been ignited within the minds and hearts of local community members. The Zero Waste Ramadan Initiative has provided a transformative opportunity for all to unite in service of a greater goal, harmonizing faith and environmental stewardship.