Reduce takeout waste, bring your own container

#3 Of #1000WaystoNourish: Takeout Without Waste

Reduce takeout waste

Welcome to NourishbyNumbers, a social initiative from the trenches. This post is #3 in the series of #1000WaystoNourish. Real actions that we can take in our daily lives to change the way we raise, grow, consume and talk about food.


Life is busy and cooking at home often falls last on the to-do list of a crazy day. I’m a huge supporter of homemade food but with family routines and only one person who cooks (me!) we end up doing takeout a couple of times a week. That can add up in cost, and garbage!

I can’t help with the cost but I have a solution for the garbage.

Green space polluted by garbage
Choose to reuse! Reduce plastic waste.


Restaurants normally use foil or styrofoam containers or black plastic boxes with lids for takeout and delivery. While a few cities may recycle these items, mostly they end up in landfills around the world.

A whopping 91% of plastic around the world isn’t recycled.

– National Geographic, July, 2017

The only choice remaining is to use less plastic, and takeout containers can be the first to go.

A few months ago I started bringing our own containers to restaurants for takeout food. It was a little complicated at the outset. Making sure I had the right sized containers and that they were available when we needed them, and clean, yes, it was complicated.

Reusable plastic containers
BYOC – Bring Your Own Containers

The waiters at restaurants were also unhappy, iniially. Their job is hard enough as it is and I felt bad asking them to pack the food in my containers, rather than use their own.

Doing things differently is hard, I get it. But most people understand the importance of reducing the amount of garbage we produce, and they are supportive.


Carry your own takeout container. I can’t stress that enough. I have washed a few plastic containers and tupperware that I now keep in a bag in the car. They are handy for when I need them, and then I wash and keep ready for the next takeout dinner.

Takeout twice a week means adding atleast 8 styrofoam containers to the landfill every week. That’s not including the extra bits and bobs of dip containers, rubber bands, plastic bags etc. Reduce plastic at home. Take your own food containers the next time you order food. That’s one small change that can impact millions of tons of garbage thrown away every minute, every hour around the world.

One last thing: If you’re taking food home, skip the plastic cutlery. The planet will thank you for it. 

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Make small changes, have a BIG impact.