Monday, August 13, 2012

A Little Styrofoam To Go Please

Last night my daughter wanted to eat at the local Mexican restaurant that sits at the entrance to our neighborhood. We patronize them often because the food is good and the family that owns and operates the restaurant live in our subdivision, walking there and back every day. I love supporting local businesses. HOWEVER...

Last night we got our food to go. Somebody please tell me why each of the quesadillas needed to be wrapped in paper and then placed in there own individual styrofoam containers. Each of the quesadillas came with a salad and each salad had its own container, too. The pixo de gallo that I ordered had its own container, as did the guacamole that my daughter wanted on the side instead of on her taco salad. Add all of that to the plastic container for her taco salad, the styrofoam cups for the two salsas, and the paper bag for the chips.

My trash can had just gotten a new and empty bag. It is now full. I was infuriated last night and when I got up to make coffee this morning I was reminded.

I want to tell them but I want to suggest they come up with a better system, not attack them for being wasteful. Remember, these are my neighbors and they are very friendly people. Any ideas on a good way to let them know about this opportunity for improvement?

13 comments:

  1. Do you eat anywhere else that has better (less wasteful) to-go packaging? Maybe keep it and show it to your neighbors, bringing it up under the guise of "gosh, this might save you some money because you could use fewer containers." Unfortunately, it usually comes down to $$. If another to-go option is more expensive, they would have to raise the cost of the menu items to keep their margin. But if they're already using a zillion little containers, they might be better off financially (as well as better for the environment) to use an alternative. I totally agree with you that's it's ridiculous when you end up with a trash bag full of to-go containers after a simple takeout meal. I also hate when the to-go bag includes a lot of little utensil packets, each wrapped in plastic. Such a waste.

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    1. There is another Mexican restaurant near my work that uses aluminum containers with cardboard lids for meals and puts everything in one container when possible. They still use styrofoam for sides though. I did notice that at least they didn't give us those fork packets!

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  2. I have the same issue with our local Mexican place. It is so difficult because we want to support the local, family fun businesses, but we don't want the waste. Maybe we shoudl try sending thoughtful emails to the owners saying how much we enjoy their food but don't appreciate the waste and would love to help them brainstorm on alternative packaging?

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    1. I think that's not a bad idea, actually....

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  3. Wow, that is a lot of trash! Can you request they package them differently? Do you think they'd be open to you bringing your own containers?

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    1. I had thought briefly a while back about doing that for leftovers when we go out to eat and never acted. I hadn't thought of doing that for takeout. I'm not sure how they would like the idea, but perhaps I will at least start taking containers when we eat in!

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  4. You know how you get a discount for bringing your own bags to grocery stores? It would be nice if we got a discount for bringing our own Togo dishes to the restaurant! Our family brings food containers from home when we eat out. We almost always have leftovers.

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  5. That's unfortunate. Styrofoam is so cheap that restaurants use it like tissue, but it's not economical in the long-run. One option is to show them a side-side price savings of using a multi-compartment paper container over the bunch of smaller Styrofoam ones in a fiscal year. or...bring your own reusable containers when getting takeout

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    1. I think I will combine many of the ideas I am seeing! Thanks!

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  6. I know there is a company that makes biodegradable take-out containers, but I can't find it right now. I did find this little resource you might want to share with the restaurant owners: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/community-news/reuseable-containers-47011022

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  7. Hmmm.... that's a touchy one since they're a business that you frequent. You don't want to step on toes, but I totally understand how you feel! Perhaps since you're regulars there, you could ask if they would mind if you brought in your own containers for your take out?

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  8. I just had this very same experience at Panda Express. I was so disappointed because we ate in the restaurant, yet they still gave us takeout containers. We ate everything and had to throw it all away. It just seemed so wasteful. I'm considering bringing my own containers next time.

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