2010 Resolution: No More Plastic Takeout Containers

If a takeout container is a temporary vessel designed to transport food from a restaurant to your home, then why is it made out of plastic, a material which is most enduring? Worst yet, containers like polystyrene clam shells leech toxins into your food and are currently not recyclable in any state due to their lightweight and high cost of recycling.

As a resolution for 2010 I’ve decided to make a change. I’m saying no to plastic takeout containers. I don’t want to buy food that comes in them, and I most certainly don’t want to take home my leftovers at the end of a meal in them.

I’m just starting to come to terms with what this really means in practice, but based on my success abandoning plastic water bottles in 2009, I’m going to give it a try.

My solution?
1. I’m going to carry my own personal container with me. I’ve purchased a very durable (albeit plastic container) that is water tight and reusable. In the past I’ve been vexed over what to do with leftovers at the end of a meal out. Do I let the waiter throw it away and waste good food or ask for it “to go” which means taking home a new plastic container handed to me often in a plastic to go bag. With my own personal container even the smallest leftovers are worth taking home for a snack tomorrow.

2. I don’t order in much, but when and if I do, I’m going to have to analyze what I order from the menu and ask what types of containers they use. I’ll have to boycott restaurants that use plastic takeout containers and frankly, I’ll need to slow down and eat in more often.

It’s not going to be pleasant or easy, but it’s at least worth a try. If last year is any indication of the process, even the small steps of thinking about this will make a difference. Before I know it, I’ll hopefully change my spending habits and support of businesses altogether.

There’s a chance this might even influence our next eco-art project.

Wish me luck, like last year, let’s hope I can keep my lapses down to 12, or 1 per month. I’ve already got one slip up, I ordered a salad at a business meeting which came in a plastic container yesterday; better stick to the soup next time.

And if we are out, please forgive me for shuffling some food from plate to my purse. It might not be Emily Post’s idea of manners, but it’s a new era and time for a new way of thinking about what’s good and bad behavior.