“It takes approximately 20 seconds to put our food into take out containers. Convenient? No, it’s actually inconvenient since the packaging can remain in our landfills forever, causing continued damage to us and our world.” says the TakeOutWithOut campaign and promotes change.
Buenos Aires has seen a lot of change over the last couple of years; everybody keeps telling me how all these vegetarian restaurants hadn’t been there five years ago. Those little take-away buffets – mainly Chinese or Taiwanese – were the big discovery by the vegetarian third of my class when coming here. Imagine a whole choice of salads, quiches and many delicious other dishes you can fill your little box with. Now, here’s the problem. The little box. When I first ate at one of these shops I was delighted by the food and horrified by all the waste I was creating by this one meal: plastic box, plastic cutlery all nicely wrapped into a plastic bag.
It got me thinking. And the solution is very simple: BYO! You know how you go to parties and bring your own drinks? Personally, I first got in contact with the BYO idea when I was in New Zealand. Believe me when I’m saying you can take BYO to a whole new level. My friends are sometimes laughing at me because I seem to carry a whole kitchen in my backpack: (mate-)cup, glass bottle, thermo-bottle, tupperware and chopsticks.
That’s exactly the idea of TakeOutWithOut: “Every little bit counts. We can’t aim for perfection, but we can aim for improvement by saying NO to unnecessary packaging and even toting our own reusables. TakeOutWithOut – enjoy your food, save your money, improve your health and help our planet!”. It is simple – the whole idea has three levels:
ReFuse unnecessary stuff: Don’t let them give you all those plastic bags they constantly try to put your stuff in. It’s very easy to just say “no”.
ReTake your own reusables: Bring your own tuppers, mugs, knives and forks or whatever else you use for eating.
ReConsider your habits: You don’t have to do things just because you always did. You don’t have to stop at takeaways. You can also tell the place you stop visiting that you are doing so because of their lack of environmental alternatives. Creating new habits – like bringing food from home – can be very good for your health and inspire others to do the same.
That’s actually an important point. When I first walked into the little veggie shop next door to our university, the chinese lady was delighted to see my box. “What a good idea!”, she said (which made me kinda depressed because I thought that it seems not to be common). People were looking and I’m sure some of them eventually got that old tupper out of the cupboard again.
To hear more amazing BYO stories, read the story of a re-usable mug on Our Simplicity Project, about how to downsize your coffee-cup impact at work.