Zero Waste Dining Out

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Eating out can be a huge source of unnecessary plastic waste. Plastic utensils, cups, straws, plates, bags, and to-go containers are used once before permanently lying in landfills. As someone who enjoys eating out at restaurants, I practice a few simple tips to reduce my environmental impact when eating out.

Bring your own utensils

It’s really easy to leave a set of utensils in your bag or car at all times in case you decide to eat out. I bought my set off of Etsy for $24. I really like them because they’re lightweight, easy to wash, compostable, and that they come in their own fabric case. My only complaint with the bamboo is that the fork still has some splinters between the tines so I have to be very careful not to get any in my lips or tongue. However, this could be easily fixed with a bit of sand paper. Alternatively, Package Free Shop also sells a bamboo set for $15 or you can find some light weight silverware and keep them together with a rubber band.

Refuse straws (and bring your own)

Straws are one of the most unnecessary single use plastic items in my opinion, but they are given in almost every drink ordered in the United States. Politely refuse straws when you order your drink and bring your own if you like to use them.

Bring your own take-out container or ask what restaurants package their leftovers in

More and more restaurants are providing compostable to-go containers, straws, and utensils. Before you ask for a to-go order or ask for a box to put your leftovers in, ask what type of packaging the restaurant uses. To be the most environmentally friendly, bring your own glass or metal containers.

Good luck