So much of our plastic waste is due to our need for convenience. We are always rushing. We don't have time to cook properly. We need food - FAST. But, so much of the plastic litter in the environment comes from fast food. This is a real problem, and an area we need to confront if we are journeying to reduce our plastic waste.
We live not far from a road junction known as 'Fatty Island' because of the number of fast food outlets there - McDonalds, KFC, Greggs, Subway, Pizza Hut. They're all there. And I have four boys - including two teenagers who love fast food. It is all just too convenient.
Even if we do eat in such places - and I try to do so less and less - there are ways we can reduce the amount of waste we produce, but it is actually quite a challenge. Recently, I took my reusable mug into our local McDonalds when I was there with my son, and we asked for a hot chocolate in our own mug. The cashier was unsure what to do and called a manager, who told me she could pour the chocolate into my mug from their disposable mug, but she had to serve it into the disposable mug first. Whhaaattt?? "What would be the point of that then?" I asked her, and she just looked a bit blank. But after she had gone away, the cashier (a young girl) said to me, "Why can't we do that? I definitely think we should do that." And so I left feeling that even the asking is important, because it makes people think. (Btw there are lots of places that WILL refill your reusable mug, and even give you a discount for using one!) ;)
This short video from The Environmentals is quite fun to watch if you are a bit of a fast food junkie, and need some help as to how you can reduce your waste when eating fast food ....
THE ENVIRONMENTALS - HOW TO REDUCE YOUR FAST FOOD TRASH
Certainly try to avoid the single-use plastics like a cup lid and plastic straw by asking not to have them.
Avoid having to order a drink entirely by taking your own in your reusable bottle. (The cups in fast food restaurants are not recyclable because of a layer of thin plastic which keeps them watertight.)
Try to order items from the menu which have minimal packaging. (Unfortunately healthy options like salads often have the most plastic packaging.)
Share a tray with your friends to avoid multiple tray liners.
Use the ketchup station to squirt sauce directly from the tap rather than having to use the little ketchup holding packages. Squirt your ketchup on to your cardboard, or directly on to your food.
Take your rubbish home and recycle it. Despite signs to the contrary in our local fast food restaurant, the way the rubbish is sorted makes it extremely unlikely any of it is actually recycled.
Write to the fast food companies you visit and use social media to demand change.
Don't underestimate the power of consumer choice!