Green Lifestyle

Published on November 27th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor


Eco-Friendly Tips for Ordering Takeout

After all the holiday cooking, no doubt you’ll be reaching for that take out menu for an easy meal. Eco-conscious folks raise the question — how can we order a meal without increasing our carbon footprint?

Check out a few of the latest eco-friendly ideas to navigate ordering in, so you don’t have to worry when you want to indulge on restaurant food from the comfort of your home. These tips will reduce your environmental impact without taking away the ease and simplicity of meals brought straight to your door:

1. Buy Close to Home

Driving around town every day to work or school may be one of your most significant environmental concerns, but the delivery driver’s route should be one, too. A single gallon of gas emits 8,887 grams of CO2, which adds to carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere and warming the planet. If possible, buy food from the restaurants closest to your home. It drastically shortens how far your food has to travel, which makes a big difference in carbon emissions.

2. Call Restaurants Ahead

When you try a new restaurant, call before you place your order and ask about the packaging they use. Plastic and styrofoam containers clog landfills or end up in the ocean, and add to the overflow of garbage we create daily. Containers are a necessary part of takeout, so buy from diners that use eco-friendly alternatives. Any containers made with recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials are better options than ones that don’t break down.

Image by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay

3. Skip the Plasticware (and be sure to tell the restaurant when you order!)

Most takeout orders automatically come with plastic utensils. If you’re eating at home, make a note on your order to skip the plasticware or call ahead to let them know you won’t need the disposable fork and knife. Use what you have in your silverware drawer instead. You’ll only need a few moments to clean the utensils later, while avoiding single-use plastics. Even if the restaurant has compostable or biodegradable utensils, it’s still better for the environment to use your own washable silverware.

Also – skip the plastic bag they’ll put your order in by bringing your own, and letting them know you don’t want a bag.

4. Find Local Supporters

Spending money at family-owned restaurants is a good practice, but it’s even better for the environment if those restaurants support nearby farms by buying their ingredients locally. Buying local food reduces your carbon footprint. The average food product travels over 1,500 miles to reach its destination. Trucks, planes, and cargo ships burn through fossil fuels to transport that food, but the farmers who live a few miles down the road don’t. Ask the managers or owners of your favorite restaurants if they buy local ingredients to find out which of your dining options are more sustainable than others.

5. Join Bulk Orders

Some delivery apps allow users to join bulk orders to save on delivery fees, which is another eco-friendly takeout tip. Bulk orders reduce how many times the delivery driver has to go back and forth from the restaurant to the customers, limiting how much gas their car uses. Research your preferred takeout apps to see which offer bulk order options.

6. Get e-receipts

You could even ask them not to print your receipt, if possible. Most places have digital or no receipts as options. Why is this important, since it’s just a small piece of paper? The answer is that it’s more than that – most receipts are covered in plastic – yep, the slick feel of a receipt is a thin layer of polymer. Dumb, right? You touch the receipt, and then without thinking, grab some fries out of the bag, and wham – plastic in your food. Plus, even something as “small” as printing receipts kills 10 million trees per year and wastes over 1 billion gallons of water.

Image by vkingxl from Pixabay

Congratulations: You’re Forming New Habits!

Every time you use these tips, you’ll start forming new habits, which take about 30 days. So give these ideas a try! It’s all part of the journey to decreasing your need for natural resources and improving the planet’s health.

About the Author: Emily covers topics on sustainability, renewable energy and conservation. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for her latest updates.

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