In July, the publishing house "Potpourri" will publish a translation of the best-selling book Zero Waste Home, specialists in the Russian branch of Greenpeace have worked on its translation and adaptation. Bea Johnson, the author of the book, urges everyone to abandon their usual consumption standards for the sake of nature conservation. There is no bin in her house, and the waste of the whole family is a liter can per year. Life around publishes an excerpt from a book on how to make your trip to a cafe or restaurant as eco-friendly as possible and abandon a bunch of disposable appliances, packaging and napkins.
The concept of "zero waste" has many common principles with the movement "Food without haste" (slow food). Its activists support homemade food and cooking methods that guarantee the usefulness and minimum amount of garbage, unlike popular eateries. They urge you to be more attentive to the origin of the products, their packaging, portion sizes and what happens to products that remain unclaimed. Refusing catering does not mean that you should swallow drool until you return home. Nobody bothers to take a well-packed snack with you.
Restaurants and Food Take Off
Once, a family craving for a new one led us to a Korean barbecue restaurant, and it turned out that the children did not know what to eat like this. The four of us crowded around the "hot table" and fiddled with the menu, unable to make a choice. Finally, on the recommendation of a waiter's friend, we stopped at a special dinner, which promised to feed the whole company to the full. It turned out that this is much more than we could absorb at a time: the whole table was not enough to accommodate an abundance of dishes of meat, fish and vegetables. Having resolutely rejected the plastic containers offered by the restaurant, we continued to fill ourselves with food only in order not to yield to its bin.
We were not pleased with the disposable container, in which the excess could be attributed to compost. This would not atone for our sin - a reusable container forgotten at home. I was torn by contradictions while I tried in vain to stuff another piece of hot pork into my mouth. Is it wise to “save food” by forcing yourself to choke on them? Is it worth bringing yourself to nausea just so as not to take away a plastic box? In the end, I gave up and asked the waitress to pack the leftovers.
The heaviness in my stomach already prevented me from conducting environmental debates, and I blurted out: "Only, please, not into plastic - I'm allergic to it." Although the waitress never seemed to have heard of such an ailment, she showed the proper tact (for sure, she would have treated the lecture on ecology with less courtesy) and took out the foil. Not the height of dreams, but much better than plastic. Perhaps I should be more honest and explain why I avoid plastic. Perhaps this would make the owner of the institution think about his rules. Be that as it may, the foil partially saved us. And it is unlikely that the waiters will violate the rules established by the boss.
Going to a restaurant, you should think about this:
Choosing a product, we vote with money for a particular practice. The same rule works with restaurants. Choose establishments that use green technology and offer local organic food. Go to places where you try to reduce the amount of garbage, and avoid establishments that do not care about it. More rush - more trash. As a rule, fast food produces more waste than other establishments.
Try to eat so as not to leave excess, and order only what they can eat. In France there is no such thing as a “dog breakfast” (the food you ruined and therefore give it to the dog), and the servings are designed so that there is no excess. Happy Hours, tapas bars and Japanese restaurants work according to similar principles, thanks to which there is almost no garbage left: small portions, dishes that can be shared, the ability to choose any combination of dishes.
Seasonings, fillings and sauces only take if you are really going to eat them. The fact that they do not take money for them does not mean that they do not spend resources.
Turn your glass upside down if you don’t feel like drinking anymore so as not to waste water.
In case you have an unfinished meal left or you ordered a takeaway dish:
Carry a reusable container with you - we have it on constant duty in the car.
If there is no container nearby, ask them to be wrapped in wax paper, cardboard or foil. An ordinary paper napkin or cloth scarf is also suitable.
Avoid foamed polystyrene at all costs, even if you have to say that you are allergic. Not only is it not processed, it also contains harmful substances.
Restaurants lure visitors not only with an excess of dishes and "convenient" packaging, but also with all kinds of food accessories, which also become garbage. Wasteful habits are characteristic not only of fast food, but of the entire food industry. We do not take what will soon have to be thrown out. But still, most customers expect that they will be brought a cocktail straw, a stirring stick, a paper towel, a pizza slicer, a toothpick sandwich and a wrapped ice cream.
We are accustomed to the fact that there is a leaflet on the tray with the restaurant’s advertisement, wet napkins are attached to the dish, the takeaway sandwich is wrapped in a pile of paper, and it is also equipped with a box of tea bags with seasonings. Let's ask ourselves: is this really making food tastier? It is sad to think how harmful such habits affect nature. When ordering a dish, we always ask what it is made of. Why not at the same time ask how the food is served and how many disposable items include lunch? Do you serve water with a straw? No, thanks!
So, what disposable items can be discarded in restaurants?
Ashtray: Better drop this case.
Baking paper: why not bring the cake home in a cloth?
Sticks: require reusable.
Napkins for plates: why are they at all?
Glass for coffee: only own, reusable.
Fake grass on a sushi plate or flag, which they strive to stick in a sandwich: all this is unnecessary for us.
Paper towels: wet hands can be wiped on a handkerchief or on your own sides, but in general toilets should be equipped with dryers or fabric towels.
Ice cream in cups with spoons: order balls without packaging.
Vessels for juice and water: take a bottle with you.
Children's non-spill cups, colored napkins and crayons: all this can be brought from home.
Packaging for lemon: and without it is easy to do.
Stick for stirring drinks: replace with cutlery or ask the bartender to mix.
Napkins: there is a fabric scarf!
Sharp sticks for olives: and hands (clean) on what?
Pizza slicer: it is quite possible to cut with an ordinary knife.
Pie box: order something else, or rather bake a pie at home.
Disposable toilet seat: you can squat down.
Straw: order without it.
Toothpick: here you go back home and brush your teeth properly.
Disposable cutlery: boycott plastic and carry everything with you.
Dessert vase: require a glass.
And one more thing: instead of coffee mixers, spoons are quite suitable, instead of a paper napkin for the collar - a tissue napkin, instead of cardboard cups for popcorn - their own reusable dishes. Colored sticks, which indicate different degrees of steak roasting, are generally useless (trust the waiter), like sugar in bags (ask for a sugar bowl). And when you see a paper tablecloth with advertising on a tray, you just want to ask: do you not wash the trays?
It is best to be careful and ask when ordering not to bring disposable items. But if they are still imposed, invite the restaurant owner to refuse them, tell us about reusable alternatives and indicate how much money this will save. The more often we, consumers, will achieve this, the sooner the institutions will get rid of the things that are used only once.