5 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste While Dining Out

Note: The best way to avoid waste while dining out is to not eat out.

Think about the last time you “ordered out”.  What did you eat?  How was it packaged?  The amount of waste used for most takeaway is often unnecessary and most of the packaging is landfill or sometimes with recyclable or compostable materials, but how often does recycling actually make it to recycling?

Disposable takeout.jpgSometimes eating out can be very wasteful.

Photo Source: istock.com | Milkos

Eating out uses valuable resources and our goal is to have zero waste.  

  1. Try planning your dining out experience to eat-in whenever possible, ESPECIALLY when they have reusable dishes.
  2. Carry a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE.  This is good for all parties, so stay hydrated, prepared, and avoid wasting a cup for only a single use.
  3. Carry reusable utensils.  Include a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, reusable straw, and napkin.  You’ll be impressed by how convenient this is, and who doesn’t like convenience?!
  4. Carry a collapsible container if you plan on dining in and decide to take leftovers home.
  5. REFUSE straws when you order a drink.  I do this almost by instinct with an occasional slip up that usually results in a straw.   Nothing really makes me stressed as straws. Probably because they are so wasteful and the abundance of them is maddening.

Be firm, confident, friendly, and to the point when you ask for no straw.   

If the person reacts uncomfortably, laugh it out to help ease any tension.   I never have issues refusing straws and sometimes you meet someone who is happy to hear this request.

feminist poster vintage girl

You’re probably thinking, “wow this broad wants me to carry a massive bag full of supplies for survival”…  Well, this is a fight for survival!

**Make sure to support local restaurants that have sustainable practices and support a greener planet.


Be savvy about it and ultimately prepare for what you plan on doing. 

For example:

If you will be dining at a familiar restaurant and know they have reusable plates and disposable utensils, then bring your pouch of reusable utensils.

Or, if you decide to get a massage and the host offers you a drink, just say, “Is it ok for me to use my reusable bottle?”

Regardless of your current routine, taking the steps to dine consciously will blossom into a rewarding experience.


If you are using anything disposable at home, STOP NOW. 

There are a lot of alternative products which not only help reduce waste but also helps you save some hard-earned money.


A fun game I like to play is called, “Oh, where have you gone to my lovely”.  Where I ponder about an object’s journey before landing in my possession.  This game usually ends with an interesting, whimsical, and sometimes dark revelation.  

For example:

Even a simple paper plate uses many resources.

Water to grow the tree.  Gas to cut the tree.  Gas to transport tree.  Power to process tree.  Gas to transport tree pulp.  Power to make the plate.  Packaging to wrap the plate.  Gas to transport the plate.

Did you think it would have so many steps or waste so many resources?  This doesn’t include the biodiversity harmed during the whole process.

Try this game out and take a moment to reflect on any object you have in your possession.  Focus on the object’s journey from start to ultimate end. 

Let me know what you learned and if any of it shocked you.  


Check this out: 

The clothing industry is filthy, and no I’m not talking about dirt.  This documentary that explores the impact of the global clothing industry on people and the planet.

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