Fast -Food While Practicing Zero-Waste

As someone who is a full-time busy college student, frequently travels and HATES cooking with the fiery passions of a thousand burning suns, fast food or dining out is MEGA covenant. However, not only is fast food bad for your health but it is detrimental to our environmental health and wellbeing. Look along highways, beaches, and parks and you will likely notice that they are littered with fast-food wrappers, bags, Styrofoam containers, and plastic lids that make their way into our waterways. The best choice is to “avoid fast food” but… come on let's be realistic here. That said here are a few pointers on how to reduce fast food waste. 

If You Can, Order/ Eat In.

You have more control over what items you receive, whereas through drive through they can pack in plastic utensils, napkins, sauces, drink lids and straws. If you eat in, you can refuse and avoid these single use items. 

Come Prepared 

Use your own utensils, cloth napkins, straws, cups (you can even fill up your own cup (or water bottle) at the soda fountain) , etc.…  reusable alternatives are the best option. Either carrying these items on hand or in the car can aid in minimizing unnecessary plastic packaging! 

Ask For A “For Here Cup” 

Many places offer glass or reusable plastic “for here cups” but you often have to request these, if you are in Lake Havasu two examples are places like Chico’s Tacos and Starbucks have reusable cups upon requests.  

Using Reusable Food Containers

Rather than the wasteful single-use packaging, call ahead and ask if you can get your food in your own container (this is also a wonderful opportunity to spread awareness) I find that many local restaurants will gladly accommodate. If you cannot get them to use your container then the best way is to order in to stay and then simply put the food in your containers yourself. 

Pick Your Restaurant Carefully

Pick places that already offer minimally packaged food or local business that are more willing to cooperate. You can even request that your food be minimally packaged, for example, I always as for no bag and no parchment wrap when eating at Subway, just the white paper that I can take home to compost. 

zero-waste fast food

Remember That YOU Are Responsible For Your Waste

Be mindful of what you are consuming, when you acquire fast food waste do what you can to adequately and properly dispose of it- remember that the landfill and recycling should be LAST resorts! Take responsibility for what waste you produce!