Top Tips for Waste-free Take Out
Just like in our Starbucks Survival Kit post, we've found ways to make our weekly Thai to-go a waste-free indulgence, so here are our tips for a eco-friendly lunch on the run.
1. Figure out which take out joints near you are willing to cater to your waste-free requests and frequent them! If the sandwich shop in your building refuses to pack your snack the way you want it, march over to the one down the street that will. Of course, there might be some basic food safety issues that prevent certain restaurants from accepting a customer's containers so pick up the phone and ask, "If I give you guys a container can you pack my food in it?" If they say yes, go there!
2. If your favorite cafe gives you a disposable, ask them if you can reuse it on your next visit. We've actually seen some yogurt stands offer incentives to bring your clean container back for reuse. It's worth asking! (See the video below for more great ways to reuse disposable take out containers.)
3. Say no to plastic utensils and paper napkins. When you place your order, let them know you don't need a fork or napkins. If your office kitchen is well-stocked you might not need ketchup, soy sauce or salt packets either. You can keep reusable napkins, utensils and even straws in your bag or at your desk so you never need disposables.
4. BYO...bag. Your favorite lunch spot might not be BYOB, but it'll certainly allow you to bring your own bag. Keep an ACME Workhorse in your purse or pocket and carry your food away with the confidence that you've spared the planet one more plastic bag. Or, have your lunch packed in a tiffin box with a handle and skip the bag altogether.
5. Bring your own cup or mug! Whether you get a soda or a hot drink with your meal, there's no reason not to bring your own beverage container to cut back on plastic bottles, paper and Styrofoam cups and all those plastic lids and straws. A lot of cafes will even knock a few cents off your total for not taking a disposable cup.
6. Make it a sustainable sammich. You want to cut back on waste, but you won't want to haul a bulky container all the way back to work when you grab a sandwich. Take a reusable sandwich bag with you! Once they get to know you, the sandwich makers won't think twice about it and it's a guaranteed way to get other people in line talking about ways to create less waste.
Also, check out this awesome video from Grist about reducing your "carbon forkprint." There are lots of great tips - and you can find all the smart products in the video on our site, along with tons of other reusables for every part of your life.
So what are some of your favorite ways to "take out" without all the "throw out"?