Waste: when “carry-out” food gets “carried away”!

condi pktAhh… Fridays.  The infamous Friday night “Carry-Out Food and Movie Nite” in the Mom Goes Green household.  The night when I don’t have to think about “what’s for dinner” and instead can rely on the simple question of where to get the food.

While this has become a tradition for us, it also brings the concern of all the waste that can be created when I don’t do the cookin’!  Who hasn’t experienced this with their order?: large, rustling bag; unneeded plastic utensils; mountains of paper napkins; a sea of condiment packets; towers of containers; single-use cups… the list could go on and on (and that list has a harsh consequence for landfill waste).

So, consider this when placing your next order:

  • Coffee – Americans use approximately 15 BILLION paper coffee cups per year.  If your order includes coffee, bring your own cup… they’ll fill it for you.
  • Condiments – really, if you’re taking it home, you probably have the same condiments waiting for you in your refrigerator.  Instead of thinking “Well, I PAID for them”, think “No thanks.  I have them already” and they aren’t in a dozen tiny packets, cups and containers.
  • Napkins – skip ‘em.  Tell them you don’t need any since you probably already use cloth napkins at home…. righplst frkst? 🙂 Right.
  • Utensils – goes without saying… we all DEFINITELY have those at home, so tell them you don’t need them either.
  • Containers – many restaurants provide you with some decent containers but, while it’s nearly impossible to refuse them, you can reuse them.  Clean them, reuse them and consider them the next time you reach for a Ziploc or other disposable storage container.
  • Cups – I certainly voiced my dislike of all the kids disposable cups during a dine-in meal, but many of those are also reusable, for beverages, storing craft supplies and lots of other projects.
  • Bags – walk in with your own.  Tell them you don’t need their oversized plastic version… after all, you ALWAYS keep your reusable bags in your car…. riiiight?  🙂

If you follow all of these suggestions, imagine this… you would have zero-waste…. AND you would have a nice relaxing evening, with a clear conscience and absolutely zero cooking too!

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3 thoughts on “Waste: when “carry-out” food gets “carried away”!

  1. I get the same thing with pizza delivery, get any sides along with your pizza and it comes in a plastic bag, no choice about it. And I always forget to tell them no napkins or plasticware. Must do better in the future. Of course, if I don’t get sides I don’t get that stuff. Maybe I should just never get a salad with my pizza! 😉

  2. We keep the plastic cups and reuse them until they die and same for the plastic containers. It never occurred to me though (out side of at my local coffee house) to ask a restaurant if they’d just fill my reusable mug. That’s a great idea, especially because I hate Styrofoam cups.

  3. Gus – I have always been surprised at how shocked people are when I ask them NOT to give me something. You’d think they’d jump at the chance!

    Shannanb – reusing is always a great option and I’ve never had anyone refuse to use my own travel mug for coffee! Give it a try!

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