Leftover Container

OK. This will take a little courage.

Have a food container with you that you can put your leftovers in when you finish (or don't finish, in this case) your meal in a restaurant.

I know, I know, "____ restaurant sends leftovers home in compostable containers."

True, but, as usual, it's more complicated than that.

The growing awareness of plastic pollution and the ongoing recycling quandary have led to an even more urgent search for solutions; thus the turn to bio-plastics. Compostable food containers are sometimes called “biodegradable,” but that’s a misnomer. It doesn’t decompose in backyard compost bins and needs to be processed at industrial facilities. Currently, only a few hundred of the roughly 4,000 composting facilities in the U.S. have the ability to accept food scraps and a much smaller subset can accept bio-plastics.

While many have pinned their hopes on these alternatives, some researchers and recyclers caution that an over-reliance on compostable tableware and packaging may not be the solution it’s cracked up to be. In life cycle assessments, it turns out, compostables don’t necessarily outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits. And an increase in compostables in the waste stream could, in fact, bungle up the composting process, create more trash, and continue consumers’ addiction to single-use items, detracting from the most environmentally beneficial practices: reducing and reusing.

So, while these alternatives make people feel good about throwing something away, we’re really not changing behavior or patterns.

But, thanks to projects like @sustainable_mocean, our local restaurants have the opportunity to utilize reusable, returnable food containers for take-out. They are currently in use @yaginoodles and @perrosaladonewport.

Ask…demand?...others to transition into a more sustainable method of food service.

So, pack up your glass or stainless steel container as you head out to the restaurant.

Once you've nailed this, take those containers to the butcher and deli as well and have them pack your order in your own container.