Reduce Your Garbage Footprint – Shopping and Dining On-the-go
Environmental Consulting and Waste Audit expert Laura McAlpine offers 5 top tips to reduce waste when shopping and dining-on-the-go!
1. Skip the straws
Many restaurants are switching from plastic to paper drinking straws, or only offering them on request. If you need a straw, why not invest in a reusable glass, metal or bamboo one to take with you?
2. Cut the cutlery
Similar to straws, plastic utensils from fast food restaurants, food courts and take-out joints generate large amounts of waste that can’t be recycled. Carry your own reusable cutlery for eating on-the-go.
3. BYOB (Bring your own bags!)
When it comes to shopping bags, Bring Your Own! Reusable totes help save on plastic bag waste (they are typically stronger and carry more items too!) and produce bags are a great alternative to non-recyclable disposable ones for unpackaged fruits, vegetables and bulk bin items. Produce bags can usually be purchased at grocery stores – remember to wash them well after each use. Keep reusable bags in your car so that you’re never without a stash of them while out running errands!
4. Shop local
Local farmers’ markets and specialty stores tend to use less single-use plastic and Styrofoam packaging than big name grocery stores. Butchers, fishmongers and delis will gladly pop your goods in reusable containers. Seek out stores that sell goods in refillable containers or allow you to bring your own – for example, some bulk food stores will let you fill your own jars. Most importantly, feel good about supporting your local retailers!
5. Consider your coffee
A morning coffee is a must-have for many, but single-use paper and Styrofoam coffee cups are wreaking havoc on our recycling systems and the planet in general! To cut down on waste, consider a reusable metal or plastic mug – most coffee shops are more than happy to fill them, and many even sell them! Also, if purchasing a single-pod coffee machine for your home or office, remember to check if the pods are recyclable!
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