Friday, 17 February 2012

The take-away message

Eating out has become a culture for many people around the world. Whether you are out to celebrate a birthday, or at a business luncheon, or even ordering a cheeky takeaway, you will at some point hit the restaurant scene.
As part of living a greener lifestyle, you can make healthy and eco-conscious decisions when ordering off the menu.
When choosing an eating establishment, look for one that puts eco-friendly values first. Ask yourself the following questions beforehand:
1. Are the ingredients fresh, free-range, organic and sourced locally?
2. Do they use seasonal produce?
3. Are fish and meat bought from sustainable sources?
When ordering food, avoid the temptation of choosing something that is too large, as food wastage is one of the leading contributors to landfills. If you can’t finish the dish, take it home and eat it the next day, instead of getting the eatery to toss it out.

When at restaurants, especially take-away outlets, there a number of actions we can take to make our meal times a little more eco-friendly. The most important of these relate to waste management, and include:

1. Skip the single servings
Individual sachets of condiments produce massive waste issues, as small quantities of the contents get wrapped up in large amounts of paper, plastic and other materials. So, instead of asking for small sachets, use bulk dispensers that are available at most takeaway eateries. This can also be extended to restaurants, which can decant a small amount of the condiments of your choice from larger, bulk containers.
2. Skip the bottles
If getting water with your meal, why not opt for plain old tap water as opposed to a bottle of sparkling or still? Not only is tap water the more economical option, but it is also considerably greener, as plastic bottles are clogging up landfills and contributing to environmental pollution.
3. Skip the disposables
When eating at a takeaway there is very little need for a plastic knife, fork and spoon. Finger foods are best enjoyed when eaten with one's hands, so dig into those burgers, pizzas and other tasty treats. This rule may not apply to an upmarket restaurant, but generally these establishments will have reusable cutlery.

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