Monday, January 18, 2010


Bleatings from EnviRambo.

Have you heard about the new campaign on the block? I am talking about TakeOutWithOut. Launched just this month, the TakeOutWithOut (TOWO) campaign aims to reduce restaurant waste by raising awareness to the outrageous amount of unnecessary waste we create every day.

Just think about it, one meal out creates a crazy amount of waste. Whether it is the paper bag, sandwich wrappers, napkins, cup, lid, and straw from a fast-food joint or plastic plate, cup, disposable cutlery and paper napkin wrapped in plastic from a chain restaurant, eating out not only fills your stomach, but also the landfill. Even if you go to a sit-down restaurant to be served, odds are you will encounter a paper napkin or paper napkin-ring on a cloth napkin and if you are lucky enough to get an actual glass-glass it inevitably will come with a plastic straw bobbing in it. Next time you eat out count the individual pieces of waste you create. That is just one meal, one person. Multiply that by a few million Americans and you have enough paper bags, plastic cups, and disposable forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. Per year!

I have managed to reduce some of my restaurant waste. I carry a klean kanteen, cloth napkin, to-go ware cutlery, glass dharma glass straw, and wrap-n-mat. Even though I have a wrap-n-mat I still struggle with taking home leftovers. The wrap-n-mat is great for sandwiches and other not-too-messy food, but liquids and something oozy not so much. I have not devoted the time to finding a suitable take-home container. Instead I go through the mental struggle of choosing guilt over wasting food or guilt over wasting a disposable container. Ultimately I end up schlepping home a styrofoam container half-full of guilt.

To quote TOWO, "We can't aim for perfection, but we can aim for improvement by saying NO to unnecessary packaging and even toting our own reusables."

TakeOutWithOut's creed is three-fold:

ReFuse Unnecessary Stuff

When taking out, refuse the unnecessary packaging! Think about the spoons, forks, straws, and napkins that you get served (why do they give you enough for a family of 20 when eating alone?). Ask yourself before accepting all these items, "Do I really need all of this?", "Am I going to be eating this right away?" (If so, why take the bag or the napkins)... just enjoy your muffin - and be neat so the napkin isn't needed!

ReTakeYour Own Reusables

Bring your own reusables (BYOR) and you won't need to use the can - garbage, that is. You can bring your own containers, straws, cutlery, mugs, bottles, and even your own bag - It's so easy to find and use!

ReConsiderYour Habits

It's easy to fall into a routine, so why not choose to create a new one? Reconsider and readjust your habits and adopt healthier eating strategies - it might be challenging at first - but it will save you time, money, your health, and our world. The bonus? You'll feel like an eco-hero and will inspire others around you to follow suit.

I think this is a great campaign! I hope to one day be able to dine at a restaurant without having to remember to ask for no straw (Why do drinks automatically come with one?) and without feeling like I am stealing from the buffet when I pull a take-home container out of my purse (I do not even eat off buffets!), but most of all without waste.

You can join the TOWO campaign on Facebook, Flickr, or Twitter and of course, by adhering to the 3-Rs: ReFuse, ReTake, ReConsider.


Wonder-ful said...

I read about this one yesterday. Right now, I can't begin to imagine being able to go to a resturant and not come home with half our food in containers. Not to mention the plastic-ware, the extra unneeded napkins, and the enevitable to-go cup. (we never can finish our food... long story)
I'm not saying I wouldn't do it (I greatly admire those who do), but I'd be pretty intimidated to go out and do it right now. In our home, my grandpa and I are pretty much home health caregivers attatched to the hip to anything deemed easy or convienent. We still have to break that.

We're trying to put a hold on our eating out (which has been our primary source of food for years). Most of our trash comes from food containers, so the simple act of cooking with real food at home should greatly reduce our waste.

Kellie said...

We have the stainless steel tiffens from which are great for bringing home leftovers. I also use my glass straw when I remember, or just go without if I forget it.

I had that same styrofoam container filled with guilt when I was working at my last job. I'd get lunch from the cafe in our building several times each week and it always came in styrofoam, plus napkins and plasticware. I eventually just brought my own tupperware container to work and they were happy to put my lunch in it.

Eco Yogini said...

i have been thinking about this recently... we always have leftovers when we go out to eat adn take them home.

a few places in Halifax actually pack food in compostable containers instead of styrofoam which is great (paper basicallY).

But I think I could certainly fit a container in my purse when we go out... adn wonder what the reaction would be when I ask them to pack it in the container.

I've also considered bringing my own container when I go to a local salad bar... instead of the waxy boxes they put them in.

I just wonder about restaurant food-packaging laws- and whether the food inspector would have a fit about safety (ridiculous I know, but something I could foresee happening here in Canada anyways).

The Raven said...

I love using our tiffin in its case as a place for leftovers. It is a good size and holds two different dishes. Some tiffins have three layers that are just a bit smaller--and that would be even better for our family of three.

I also try to keep a little bento box in my purse. It is much smaller than a tiffin--and usually packed with a little cloth bag of nuts and dried fruit in it. I can remove the cloth bag when I need to bring home a few unexpected leftovers.

I'm very new to bringing leftovers home responsibly--and in fact found out about TOWO because of changes we had just made. But we've been talking about it for a couple of years. It feels really good to be moving on our goals and also to have a whole community of folks doing it with us!

Jenn the Greenmom said...

I bring ziploc bags in my purse pretty much wherever I go...okay, yeah, they are disposable too, but they're so much better than that Giant Styrofoam Box of Doom that I feel fairly okay about it...

Thanks for this post!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin