Restaurant Take Out. Or Not.

So, I went out for dinner with a few of my girlfriends the other night.  And as soon as I arrived, one of them said “you’ll never guess what I brought!”

Sure, enough, I couldn’t, because it turned out to be a reusable plastic container that she had brought specifically to hold her anticipated leftovers.  (The crowd goes wild, cheering  for waste free dining)

Make no mistake.  My girlfriends have all known about the Clean Bin Project and about my tendency to carry reusable containers in my purse for some time now.  And we meet for dinner every month or two.  But this is the first time that this is the first time that this particular friend has come prepared for leftovers.

I’m not taking full credit for this event, but I do want to point to the fact that she specifically showed me her container.  This Clean Bin Project thing might have some teeny tiny influence out there after all.

So what about you?  Are you the kind of person who intends to avoid takeout containers, but somehow ends up with them anyway.  Or are you are the kind of person who has a container in your bag right now.

In either case, you should check out Take Out With Out.  They’re running a campaign to reduce restaurant waste.

Their slogan is “fill your stomach not the landfill”, and what with their blog, facebook group, and twitter feed, it’s kind of a combination how to/support group for avoiding take out containers.

It’s pretty new, mind you, (the website launched Jan 1, 2010) so some of the pages are looking a tad stark, but if you have a picture or a story to tell about take out, or if you’re a restaurant trying to do the right thing, then these guys want to know about it.

Whether you use plastic, metal or glass, let 2010 be the year when yon’t forget your container!



Filed under food, no waste on the road

12 responses to “Restaurant Take Out. Or Not.

  1. Bonnie

    Very nice, Jen.

    When going to dinner at my sister’s at Christmas, I would bring a reusable dish, utensils and cup to avoid the paper plates,etc. They think I’m nutty. Keep up the great work on this. 🙂


    • Way to go Bonnie! One day you won’t be the only one at the table with a reusable dish.

      I often see families on tv (yes, usually reality tv – I’m guilty) using paper plates, and it drives me nuts. I always figured, the more people you have over, the more people to help with dishes, so bring on the real dinnerware.

  2. You know what I’d like to see an article on is the term, “environmentally friendly”. I heard an ad for a bin company on AM730 yesterday saying that they handle your garbage in an “environmentally friendly” way.

    Sure, they more than likely recycle what they can, but I don’t see how building a warehouse, using bulldozers and back hoes, burying what’s not recyclable, etc. is “environmentally friendly”.

    Perhaps “responsible” is a more accurate term?

    We “responsibly” handle your waste? Environmentally Friendly smacks of green washing to me. “Responsibly” sounds like a more honest way of describing what is being done because quite literally NOTHING is environmentally friendly.

    Those recyclable containers for the leftovers? Made of plastic.

    • Even the term “responsibly” can change over time. It used to be “responsible” to put everything in the trash can, meaning that you weren’t littering, but now many people would think of that as “irresponsible” becuase many more materials can be recycled.

      I agree that greenwashing is rampant these days, and recycling is definitely not the answer. Recycling plastic takeout containers isn’t even CLOSE to as good an option as avoiding them in the first place. And even though we rely on our trusty reusable containers, I’m the first to admit that even reusable containers eventually crack and break, and will eventually end up downcycled or landfilled.

  3. Steve

    Awesome. I’ve been doing the same and am happy to report that some friends are starting to follow suit.

    Us Y-Chromosome types don’t have the convenience of a purse to put plastic containers in. I find the best solution is zip-lock bags that get washed and reused. They fold well to fit in your pocket and are reasonably leak proof.


    • You’re totally right Steve. My purse suggestion was a little gender biased.

      I should have also mentioned that when I am out and about, I carry a resealable container with the cutlery inside – no spills or mess. (And I actually usually have a side bag or a backpack rather than a purse). When I go to someone else’s house, I sneak a plate out of the cupboard even if they are using paper ones and discretely wash it when I’m done.

  4. One of my bugbears has always been our school’s PTA using plastic cups for teas & coffees at school events…well guess what…they’ve now bought proper crockery. So we can all now enjoy a refreshing drink with a proper cup and saucer. Hooray. Hope you’re well Jen. I love the TakeOutWithout campaign and have dropped them a line. 🙂

  5. Not only do I bring my own “to-go” container to restaurants, but I pack a cloth napkin, bamboo cutlery, klean kanteen, and glass straw! (I have a big purse.) That way, like a good little scout, I am always prepared. Now if it would only rub off on my friends.

    Glad to hear it has on yours. takeout without is an awesome and much needed campaign!

  6. Bringing your own food container is a good idea. As much as possible I avoid taking out to avoid waste.

  7. Michelle

    was delighted to see a restaurant (serving all local, real, unprocessed food) that had chinese takeout style containers from unbleached recycled cardboard. i actually made a little sigh of relief when i saw it. it’s better of course to have a reusable, but they were way way better than the standard styros.

  8. Sara

    Once I and a friend ordered a take out pizza and my friend convinced them to allow us to take it in the deep dish. We were eating it nearby at an event we were holding, but I think my friend enjoyed walking it over and she got lots of comments (I had to man the event while she picked it up). I don’t usually order a full take out pizza, so haven’t done this again. They are used to me showing up with my own single slice container though.

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