The first approach is to ask for non-disposable items. In many cases, restaurants already provide re-usable items for their preferred customers.Bus reusable items, but leave disposible items at the table.
- Ask for re-usable items:
- "I'd like that for here."
"... if I can get that for here. Can I get that for here?"
"I don't want it to taste like styrofoam  (or paper)"
"That's a throw-away item I didn't request and will not use." (for straws, lids, etc., that are not used by all customers) "... It's a disposable item that is in the way for 20 minutes, and then it goes into a landfill for another 200 years."
"That's a disposable item that I didn't request and didn't ask for."
Provide reusable items.
- "I know it's wrong (or unethical) to bus disposible items, but I'm returning this anyway."
- Point out that the chains convinced people to bus the throw-aways in order to put the independents out of business.
- Re-usable mugs, once a peculiarity, are now a common convenience item. (If you run into the rare business that insists on transferring through throw-away items, say something. After all, you're the customer! "I don't want it to taste like foam/paper/plastic. It's also waste.")
- Re-usable containers. Microwavable glassware with sealable lids are available at discount department stores. If necessary, describe these as microwavable containers. (Most plastic containers are not, and it is not possible to identify which, if any, are safe. Many paper products are coated (typically with polyethylene) and are also not microwave-safe.)
- Refuse condiments if you intend to throw them away. "I didn't ask for these, which means they are a form of waste."
- Reusable shopping bags - These are common in many areas. (Some municipalities also impose a tax or require a fee for use of throw-away bags.)
- "None of the disposables are microwavable."
- (for re-usable containers at work and elsewhere) Almost no commonly-used disposable containers are microwavable. The entire idea is to save cost. Even paper cups could be plastic coated. (see Microwave-Safe Plastics.)
- Retrieve your reusable cup (if available) if offered a throw-away one.
- Look at styrofoam containers to see if they are partially dissolved by hot foods. Then say something.
- (After all, they're used because "cost is no object" -- whatever is cheapest.)
- links - Links, Allies and What Others Are Saying
- back to Don't Bus Throwaways
FOOTNOTES:^ "Styrofoam" is a trademark of Dow Corning, but is often used generically (especially in North America) to describe polystyrene. The primary significance of this is that it appears that Dow Corning does not market "Styrofoam" cups, so "Styrofoam" cups do not really exist. If only that were true! (There's also an ambiguity about whether "Styrofoam" is expanded polystyrene foam or extruded polystyrene foam, a distinction that is probably of interest primarily to plastic manufacturing engineers.)
First posted 4-Feb-12. Last revised 21-Feb-12.
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