How to stop millions of mooncakes becoming food waste

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the lunar or lantern festival, is a major celebration of the cultural calendar. Chinese calendar.

Lanterns are used to symbolize prosperity, and people enjoy mooncakes, which are traditionally a rich baked pastry stuffed with sweet lotus, nut, or bean seed paste, with a full salted egg yolk in its center to symbolize the full moon.

However, there is a darker aspect of the mooncakes.

Every year, millions of containers of these delicacies are given to relatives, friends, colleagues, and even business customers. Each year, millions of mooncakes end up in Hong Kong’s near-to-capacity trash dumps.


Food Grace is a Hong Kong non-governmental organization that promotes the recycling of food waste as well as green living. It also encourages people to recycle mooncake containers correctly – claims as high as 3.2 million mooncakes were taken out in Hong Kong last year.

Mooncake boxes from corporate companies are distributed to businesses. The packages are often sent to the waste bin. Photo: Antony Dickson

It’s not just food waste that causes problems. Inexpensive packaging in gift boxes for mooncakes adds to the waste problem.

A report in 2022 from Food Grace found more than 80 percent of households said that the unneeded mooncake packaging needed to be addressed by the relevant authorities.

Mooncakes being served in Mid-Autumn is an emerging trend in China’s long history.

Food Bank Food Bank Hong Kong, an official Food Grace charity partner, hopes to end part of “mooncake madness” by collecting excess mooncakes from food businesses as well as the general public.

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“In the past five years, we’ve collected more than 80,000 mooncakes and redistributed them to more than 100 charities,” says Feeding Hongk’s project director, Edmond Leung.

The collection points are established throughout the city, with contributions accepted through September 25. The mooncakes that have been saved will be given to charities that serve those in need, says Leung.

Feeding Hong Kong collects surplus mooncakes and distributes them to those who need them. Photo: courtesy Feeding Hong Kong

“Recipients include low-income seniors and families who struggle to afford the basics, let alone festive treats.”

Suppose you’re looking to give away their mooncakes the mooncakes. In that case, there are a few rules that must be followed: mooncakes have to be able to be kept at room temperature, be unopened and packaged, and have a clearly stated expiry date and the manufacturer.

“We also welcome food companies to donate by the case or pallet right up to the festival.”

Who really likes mooncakes? We eat them only because of the past.

Hanuman Charity was founded during the Covid-19 pandemic by Naveen (Nick) Sadhwani and his daughters Samiha and Bianca. The charity’s mooncake donation drive is designed to help connect people experiencing homelessness and those in need.

“We also support the hardworking cleaners who earn minimum wages and work long, tiring hours to keep the streets clean,” Sadhwani adds and adds that people who would like to donate sealed and packaged mooncakes can connect to Hanuman Charity’s social media channels.

Another beneficiary, he adds, includes those in the town’s ” cardboard grannies” who take the paper and sell it to recycling facilities. Seniors living in isolated areas also benefit from it.


“We visit homes for the elderly, bringing goodies, engaging in conversations and even playing games together,” the man says, adding that there are many who suffer from loneliness and illness.

“By sharing mooncakes and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with them, we bring joy and a sense of community to their lives.”

Mooncake donation drives serve a crucial environmental function in bringing attention to Hong Kong’s food waste issue.

What exactly is the Mid-Autumn Festival all about? A detailed visual explanation

As per the Environmental Protection Department, about 3255 tons of waste from food production are generated each day, making up 30% of the total Municipal Solid Waste.

While some may be quick to blame hotels, restaurants, or markets that are wet, in reality, more than 68 percent of food waste originates from household households, according to Leung. “The greatest problem – and opportunity – lies in changing consumer behaviour.”

Following the city’s unprecedented rainfall last month, the issue of climate change should be on the agenda for Hong Kong, and food waste is one of the causes of the problem.

Naveen Sadhwani’s charity has been conducting mooncake collections to help the less fortunate. Photo: Edmond So

As food waste decays in landfills, it releases methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas that affects Earth’s temperature and the climate environment, Leung says.

“Feeding Hong Kong addresses the challenge by redirecting surplus food from the commercial and industrial sector to those in need, instead of allowing it to end up in landfills,” he says.

What makes the numbers of food waste particularly difficult to comprehend is the fact that almost one-quarter of the population in Hong Kong, which is 1.65 million people – are living below the poverty level.

What exactly is the Mid-Autumn Festival all about? Chinese mythology and the way it is celebrate

Feeding Hong Kong founder Gabrielle Kirstein states that while events like that of the Mid-Autumn Festival are a special opportunity for communities and families to gather together, they also can be a time of excess food.

“Each year, a shocking number of mooncakes end up in landfill, which is heartbreaking when so many are struggling to afford the basics,” Kirstein says. Kirstein.

“This is why we’re asking people to collect the mooncakes they have left and then donate them to any of the collection locations all over the city. Together we can feed our community instead of dumping them into garbage dumps,” she says.

Edmond Leung is the project director of Feeding Hong Kong. Photo: Edmond So

Feeding Hong Kong is also looking for financial contributions to cover its costs for logistics around the Mid-Autumn Celebration. “It’s a powerful donation that goes a long way – for the cost of two mooncakes, Feeding Hong Kong can rescue and redistribute 130 surplus ones,” Leung adds. Leung.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be preparing 3,000 Mid-Autumn seasonal food parcels for Yau Tong Food Bank. Yau Tong food bank. These will contain healthy, nutritious foods and a leftover mooncake dessert that will be distributed to more than 50 charities during the weeks prior to the celebration.”

Leung believes that eating proper portions of food can reduce food waste.

What Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated, from mooncakes to lanterns

“It is common to prepare too much food when gathering with a group, so to avoid overcooking and preparing foods that might not get eaten, double confirm the number of guests and each person’s dietary preferences before ordering or cooking,” He advises.

It is also advisable to pick recipes that reduce food waste, says he. “Be creative and cook in a way that produces the least food waste possible when organising house parties, and ask people what they like and how much they can consume before giving out food such as mooncakes.”

Sadhwani believes that a variety of factors are responsible for food waste.

Every year, millions of mooncakes are disposed of in the city’s landfills that are filled. Photo: Getty Images

“These include the prevalence of large portion sizes, a cultural tendency to over-order in restaurants, improper food storage and handling practices, and a general lack of awareness regarding food waste reduction and recycling,” the author says.

To reduce waste, the Sadhwani advises that food scraps can be reduced by recycling vegetable scraps to make food scraps, composting them, or incorporating them into other dishes instead of throwing them away. Them.

Helping local food banks and charities is a different method of preventing food waste.


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