Zero Waste Take-Out

Zero waste takeout

That little dish of messy red heaven up there is vegetable bibimbap from the Korean restaurant a few blocks from me. I cook often, but WOW there are some nights when it just isn't going to happen. I can't really rely on ready-made packaged foods - pizzas, bags of frozen veggies, cans of whatever, microwaveable things - and stay zero waste at the same time, so I use the wonderful restaurants on my street as a safety valve for nights when cooking feels impossible.

Here's the trick for zero waste take-out if for you, like me, asking a restaurant to put food in your own containers is too daunting. Though perhaps it shouldn't, it makes me shy to ask for something so unusual - and the bigger reason is that I don't want to ask the restaurant to break any health code rules by bringing my dish from outside back to their kitchen. Instead, I choose places with a walk-up counter and a five to ten minute wait time and I order my dish "for here." Then, once it gets to my table, I pull out a spoon and sealed container from home, transfer the dish, clear my table, and head on home.

If you live somewhere walkable or bike-able, find a few restaurants close to you and wander over some night. If you rely on your car to get from your home to the restaurants you like, maybe keep the container in your desk or in your car so you can stop somewhere on the way home. Either way - a ten minute dinner and zero waste takeout, no mustering up courage required.