Due to the pandemic, many restaurants were forced to close. Even with some of them back open, only delivery, takeout, and curbside pickup are available. Food waste and packaging have always been a problem, and even more so with food deliveries and takeout. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food, plus packaging — some, though not all, of which is used to contain food — make up about 45% of all the materials in U.S. landfills. That all adds up to about $165 billion worth of food every year.
Here are some tips on how to reduce our impact on the environment while still enjoying the convenience of restaurants and supporting local businesses.
Choose local restaurants
Ordering from local restaurants, bakeries, and stores not only helps ensure they will continue to be in business but also reduces the amount of energy and resources needed to bring food to your table. For the pros and cons of in-store pickup and delivery, read this article.
Pick up neighbor’s meals
See if a friend or a neighbor is ordering food and volunteer to pick up their order as well. This saves them time and is a kind way to show you care. It also helps save vehicle emissions from making multiple trips.
Opt for reusable utensils
Since most of us will be taking our meals home to eat, there’s no need to grab single-use utensils since we can use reusable ones. If you are on campus, reusable cutlery is available for purchase at Hillside Market or through Grubhub at the Pit or Douglass and Danforth Dining Halls. For $2.36, each silverware set includes one spoon, knife, and fork which can be stored in the included zipper pouch.
Recycle what you can
Recycling policies are different depending on the county so be sure to give them a read before tossing everything in the waste bin. Recycling bins are located throughout the University along with posters to ensure waste is sorted properly. As a reminder, the paper bags provided by dining halls, the Pit, and Hillside Market are recyclable and should be placed in paper recycling bins. Doing so creates more space in trash bins and allows the bag to have another life as a recycled paper item.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022
Photo Credits: https://blog.opentable.com/2020/restaurant-takeout/