OCT 09, 2018 05:57 PM PDT

Take-out doesn't have to be this way

I love take-out just as much as the next person, but there's something that gets to me every time I order in: the amount of single-use waste that comes with my meal. Yeah, sure, some of it can be recycled; but a lot of it can't, and some of it I don't even know which bin to put it in! And really shouldn't we be thinking more about the root of the problem?

In the US, packaging makes up the largest category of municipal waste, and single-use items make up 10% of all our discards. That's largely in part because of our consumerist culture, which doesn't prioritize the "Reduce" and "Re-use" of the famous three R's: Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. Some examples of focusing on reduction and reuse are to serve condiments in bulk (everyone hates ripping open those tiny ketchup packets anyway!) and to get rid of extra packaging (does your fork really need its own little bag inside another bag?). That goes for "skipping the bag" or utensils or straw (or whatever it may be), too, a practice in which companies and restaurants don't offer plastic bags (or take-your-pick single-use product) unless the customer asks for it. It's all about changing individual attitudes and slowly the larger culture. Want to learn more about how we can focus in on reducing and reusing our "trash"? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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