Unfortunately the country, and Illinois, are reaching daily highs of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. That means more of us are sheltering in and ordering food in. That means more trash, more waste.
Recently, Tom Sietsema, a food critic for the Washington Post did a self-study on his waste habits. He retained all his takeout packaging for three weeks. At the end of that time, he had nearly 100 gallons of takeout waste! He cited that National Geographic found that the United States uses more than 36 billion disposable utensils (forks, spoons, etc.) each year, probably more so now with Covid. To put that in understandable terms, laid end to end, those utensils would wrap around the globe 139 times.
We all want to support our local eateries, especially now that indoor dining is again restricted, but there are some easy ways to cut down on waste. First of all, when you call in your order, tell the eatery that you do not need utensils or napkins. After all, you are eating at home; you have your own to use, wash, and reuse. Yes, napkins – you could be using washable cloth in your home! Next, tell the eatery you do not require condiments. How many little packets of catsup or soy sauce do we need in our homes when we all have those items by the bottleful? Also, encourage your eatery to use recyclable, or reusable, containers and bags. If you must order drinks, please request that you not be given straws!
Another reminder on a related note: if you are using curbside pick-up do not leave your car in idle. Besides the emissions, you are paying for gas you are not using. Today’s engines are more efficient if they are shut off and then restarted.
Please challenge yourself: For the next week, go about your usual habits and then record the amount of trash you have created at the end of the week. Decide how much of that you can cut out for the next week – 10%? 20%? 50%? Can you reduce again each of the following weeks? Can you have a trash reducing contest with family or friends? What can you do to reduce the amount of trash you produce?