take it to go

Doggy bags, to-go boxes, take-out, leftovers...whatever you call them, chances are, there's styrofoam involved.

And in case you need a reminder, while most styrofoam has a recycling number on it, many cities and recycling companies do not accept it (Lafayette included). Styrofoam does NOT biodegrade, meaning your to-go box will be sitting in that same landfill a hundred years from now. It's a major component of overall litter, and it can kill animals who may mistake it for food.

Is it worth it?

(Let me work it!)


What You Can Do

Bring your own!! Simply grab one of your food containers at home and bring it with you to the restaurant. For good measure, bring one for each person going out to eat with you.

When you're done and ready to pack your leftovers, go ahead and fill up your container. If the waiter asks to box your food before you get a chance to do it yourself, just let them know you've brought your own container to save on waste.

Now, this is one area where I admittedly don't excel. But this blog post will serve as my own accountability reminder. So, I, Eco Cajun Caitlin, will promise to start bringing my own container when I go out to eat.

And if you do go out to eat and the restaurant gives you a nice, reusable and washable plastic container, keep it and reuse it. Take it with you next time you dine out. Don't just throw it out or recycle it after one use if it's still in good condition!

What Restaurants Can Do

Look into alternative take-out containers. I know, I know. Styrofoam is cheap to order in bulk. And cost IS important in a restaurant. But, consider your responsibility, as a business, to the planet. Do you want to contribute to what goes into landfills, or do you want to help reduce the amount of non-biodegradeable waste we leave behind?
  • EcoProducts makes their containers with a sugarcane/bamboo blend. Every product they make is either made from renewable resources (like corn, sugarcane or plant starch) or recycled content (like RPET, PCF or RPS). They produce hot and cold cups, food containers, plates, utensils, lids and other items.
  • Biomass Packing uses wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugar cane bagasse and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes. These materials are easy to grow and readily available, compared to styrofoam and plastic (which is made from petroleum). They produce take-out materials and catering supplies.
  • FoodBizSupply makes the cardboard alternatives to take-out containers. All their items are made from biodegradable, compostable, recyclable and recycled materials.
  • Greenstaurant's containers are made with sugarcane and corn materials and are compostable.
I certainly don't know anything about managing a restaurant, but some food for thought (SEE WHAT I DID THERE??) could be to offer a small discount or coupon to patrons who bring their own to-go container in. You could cut down on the amount of to-go boxes you order, and you promote repeat and loyal business!


Anonymous said...

My mom has always kept containers from restaurants and reused them for our own food storage. I have found myself picking up the same practice. I didn't even consider the positive impact for the earth, I just though of the positive impact on my checkbook :)

Caitlin said...

I love it! And that's one of the best things about green practices - they save you money a lot of the time!

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