Do you love food? I sure as hell do. But as much as I love cooking and baking, I also like my food to be prepared by someone else and delivered to me every now and then.
That “now and then” has changed recently with COVID-19 and efforts to support local businesses. I find myself ordering more frequently than I used to. Pre-pandemic, I ordered in once or twice a month. Now, I find myself turning to takeout a couple times a week. I love my local Indian spot. And then there’s the Chinese place, the Italian restaurant, tacos on 9th, and that diner on the corner where you can get the best pancakes ever at 1 a.m. (don’t judge me please). I want all of them to survive this disaster.
And by the way, if you’re ordering food, please make sure to order directly from the , so it doesn’t have to share its profit with delivery companies. Also make sure to tip well, and remember that restaurant workers and delivery drivers are putting themselves at risk by making and delivering your food, so you can stay inside enjoying your meal.
But everything comes with a price, right? And I don’t mean the actual price of the food. As I’ve transitioned to relying on takeout more, and stress eating my way through the quarantine, I’m watching my garbage bins fill up so fast you’d think 10 people lived with me, not just my husband and a cat. (I blame it on the cat). That growing trash pile of all the containers, utensils, napkins, plastic, and paper bags in my kitchen got me thinking about the unsavory side effects of my new habit.
As a photographer, I’m interested in how things look. For this project, I collected all the packages and containers from just one week of staying home and ordering in. That came out to two people getting food delivered three times. The total amount of garbage from those meals astounded me. Still, the math is pretty simple: The more stuff we consume the more trash we generate.
Ideally we need to work on creating less waste. “Reduce” and “Reuse” come before “Recycle” for a . So with that in mind, when placing orders, I try to request that restaurants don’t give me plastic cutlery and single-use chopsticks. You can also try to only order from restaurants that use recyclable products and avoid things like styrofoam. It’s also always a good idea to rinse take-out containers, otherwise the food residue may make them not recyclable. Ultimately, make sure to check your local recycling guidances for what can and can’t go in the recycle bin.
And yes, as important as it is to support restaurants and other local businesses, it’s more important than ever to recycle.
Here’s all my takeout waste from a week of eating.