Takeaway food without waste

Does the plastic and paper waste that accompanies most takeaway meals sour the taste for you? Here's a step-by-step guide to happily have your fill without landfill. It generally takes minutes between filling up a single use plastic takeaway container, devouring the contents and then committing it to recycling or landfill. Disposable options have been designed in part to make clean up cheaper for businesses and they make anything else now seem downright inconvenient. However, when eating a delicious curry made by your favourite local Indian restaurant, the sight of the unnecessary single use bags, plastic containers and paper serviettes can create the reverse of hunger pangs. When you consider the energy and resources that go into making a takeaway container - let alone the impact of non-recyclables on the environment (either landfill or our oceans) - it's a reminder of the eco inconvenience of plastic disposables. Single use paper options may appear charmingly biodegradable ( just because a coffee cup is made from paper, it's plastic lining makes it unable to degrade or be recycled), they still require trees for the paper and energy to create. But, lets move on from the heavy stuff and give you some options to feel good about. In the United States and Canada there is already a strong movement such as and we know there's a ripple starting in Australia!

1. Prepare yourself with some reusable takeaway containers

Gather some reusable containers in rough takeaway sizes and try to keep them for this purpose so you don't get caught without. Have a few in your car or one in your bag for those last minute, too-tired-to-cook days. We like the stainless steel food containers from U Konserve and Black + Blum bento boxes - or check out our lunch box options for more ideas. You might like to pop them in a reusable bag or keep an Envirosax inside one container for easy carrying home. We also have insulated lunch bag options perfect for keeping your food hot or cold longer. Then, next time you feel like ordering your favourite takeaway, instead of phoning ahead, grab a book (for while you are waiting) and your reusable containers. When placing your order, ask if they would be able to use your containers and hand them over. Remember, although you may throw their system out of whack briefly until they get used to this request, you are helping them to reduce their costs! And, you never know, they may already have other customers who are already reusing containers. Oh, and don't forget to BYO "doggie bag" - why not take your own containers for leftovers when you eat in.  

2. Consider keeping some of the following takeaway essentials in your bag and car A couple of reusable cloth napkins or organic hankerchiefs or hankies to replace paper serviettes. A reusable glass straw (remember whenever ordering a drink, always ask for it without a straw). A reusable water bottle (saves the environment, money and calories if you fill with water). A reusable cup, large sizes can be used for both coffee or smoothies. Our stainless steel cups are great for kids. Reusable cutlery (a knife, fork and chopsticks kept in a pouch, or a handy, multi use spork is perfect). See our reusable and safe section for more products to help reduce your reliance on single use disposables.


It really only takes a little preparation and a slight change of habit to cut down on your takeaway disposables.

Do you already take your own containers for takeaway? Any tips? Please tell us in the Comments.


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