• How to Create a Reusable Take Away Kit

    February 25, 2016 • LIFE

    Did you know that every piece of plastic ever produced remains somewhere in the earth today, unless it’s been incinerated? Although many plastic items can be recycled, actual rates of recycling are often low, meaning plastic ends up in landfill. Landfills can cause significant environmental and health problems including green house gas emissions, toxins leaching into soil and groundwater, and bad odours.

    As well as landfill, a lot of plastic waste ends up in our waterways – a CSIRO national coastal debris survey estimates that there are about 115,513,626 bits of rubbish on Australia’s coastline, and 74% of all that waste is plastic. And don’t forget that plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels and clock up many carbon miles being shipped all over the world.

    But you can make a difference! There are so many areas in your life that you can make simple switches to reduce the amount of waste you accept into your life and then leave behind. In this article, we’re going to look at reducing waste, particularly plastic waste, when ordering take-away food or drink.

    Be Prepared

    A great way to reduce plastics and single-use waste is by creating a reusable kit that you can use as an alternative. You can grow and adapt your kit over time, but some great things to include are

    – Reusable cutlery such as a bamboo spork or reusable chopsticks for rice dishes

    Stainless steel straw

    Reusable cup

    – Cloth napkins (a lovely old hanky would suffice!)

    Keep reusables with you

    Once you have put together your reusable kit, make sure it travels with you – in your bag, or your child’s school bag. It might be helpful to keep them in a pouch – you can use a sandwich pouch, or if you’re feeling crafty, sew up something small with scraps of material you have lying around.

    Learn to say No

    One of the best ways to reduce personal waste when eating out is by simply refusing single use packaging, straws and cutlery. Consider the amount of packaging when getting something as simple as sushi: the sushi rolls are often placed in a plastic container, sealed with a rubber band, put in a paper or plastic bag (sometimes both!) with wooden disposable chopsticks (also contained in a paper wrapper) and plastic packets of soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger and paper napkins. That’s a lot of waste!

    Think about ways to reduce what you end up throwing out – perhaps refuse the paper napkins and disposable chopsticks in favour of your reusable kit or use soy sauce from the bottles on the counter, rather than taking plastic packets. If you have the time, you could eat-in and save all the disposable packaging. When ordering a drink anywhere, ask for no straw. Don’t be afraid to say no to wasted packaging or single-use disposables – the planet will thank you! And you may inspire other customers to follow suit.

    Further Reading

    Bring Your Own: The Basics