Not only is eating out generally worse for you, it turns out all the "plastic bags on paper bags on individual wax bags on Styrofoam containers, and all those plastic utensils, napkins and sauce packets, add up to create a veritable landfill by the end of the working week." Check out this article to read more about it... http://www.nbc11.com/goinggreen/13376526/detail.html
It's also supposed to be really bad to re-heat take-out leftovers in those plastic or stryrofoam containers. To be safe, transfer food to a ceramic or glass plate and cover with a paper towel when re-heating in the microwave.
Controlling one's own food preparation is a great area for everyone's personal study. LOHAS stands for "lifestyles of health and sustainability". The more one learns about the massive impact of subtle changes, the more one gets committed to sticking with them until they are normal. Food the single most expensive item in each person's total life, and then there's the impact on others to think about (or is that first?;-) I dine quite well and organically in a city for a reasonable sum of money.
I'm a firm believer that since technology created these environmental woes, technology needs to come to the rescue. For example, that methane gas that is being produced at landfills can be reused to create electricity. In fact, many landfills are already collecting the methane and reusing it. I believe our best bet is to come up with technologies to harvest the waste from the trash and re-use it. Changing people's habits is much harder to do.
According to the EPA we throw away 29.2 million tons of food scraps each year. Much of that comes from uneaten food from buffets and resturants. These scraps go to the landfill and create methane gas as they decompose adding to global warming.
Articles like this are very important to the consumer because it offers knowledge that we can act upon and take responsibility.
More and more grocery stories, restaurants and businesses are taking responsibility for their environment.
Tax incentives are being implemented via state and federal government.
I see more recycled paper napkins, cups and to go containers these days. Don't you?
We just have to be informed and take responsibility thereof.
This is a tad bit off topic, but I've noticed that some plastic disposable bowls are labeled as "biodegradable." If businesses MUST have plastic utensils, it would be good if they could use that biodegradable plastic to at least minimize waste that sticks around for along time. I also wish that styrofoam use could just once and for all be stopped. Do any of you know if wax/plastic-lined paper cups are totally NOT recyclable just because they're lined? Disposable cafe cups make up a huge amount of garbage around college campuses, and it makes me kind of concerned that the cups are probably not being recycled/are not able to be recycled...
We really need to start thinking about this stuff. Global warming is not a joke and unfortunately, its catching up with us. We have created an ozone layer that is actively cooking us with hazardous rays as though we're in a microwave and a lot of this has to do with making irresponsible choices.
Although ordering take-out once in awhile will not kill the planet (and to take that responsibility upon yourself isn't fair), it's important to be aware that if everyone took a small step, we'd be making leaps and bounds.
One thing I've started doing is bringing my own bags to the store. It's fun, because everyone thinks I'm shoplifting and it's saving the production of additional bags. Will that save the planet? No. Is it a tiny step that I have chosen to take? Yes.
Think about what steps you can take and all together, we can reverse some of the damage that's been done.
Thanks for the link, Marcy. I think this article is only talking about take-out food, specifically fast food, which, yes, does invove a lot of waste.
Even if you "eat in" in a fast food place, the burger's in a wrapper, the fries are in a wrapper and so on.
Packing your own lunch or eating in a restaurant or cafe for lunch is more "green" (assuming you don't wrap your sandwich in a Baggie, and buy the individual packets of cookies and crackers as opposed to using Tupperware or something reusable). And it almost always will be cheaper and possibly healthier... although a Cafe Gratitude opened nearby and you can't get much healthier than that!