Ah, summer vacation! There’s nothing like getting away. Whether by car, by air, or by train, traveling however, generates a lot of waste!
My husband and I were recently in Asheville, North Carolina. On the drive from Charlotte to Asheville, we stopped at a Subway restaurant , one of the healthier fast food options, for lunch. Since I haven’t been to a fast food restaurant in years, I was shocked at the enormous amount of throwaway,non-recyclable products with each order – still!
My salad came in a sturdy, non-biodegradeable plastic bowl covered with a heavy-duty non-biodegradeable plastic lid. The server gave me not one plastic packet of salad dressing but four. My iced tea came with a plastic straw, several white sugar packets and a lid, even though we were eating in the restaurant. In the paper bag with my lunch ( a tray would have made more sense since we were eating there), was the plastic cutlery in a plastic bag and 6 or more paper napkins! I returned the sugar packets, the napkins and the unused salad dressings.
On my flight to London, we had two throwaway meals. The cutlery came in its own plastic bag, the salt and pepper in another, the cheese and crackers in another, the cookies in another, and the dinner itself in a plastic container sealed in plastic wrap. Plastic water bottles, soda cans, stirrers, unused napkins – all I could think about was waste! Some airlines do some recycling, but not nearly enough.
I don’t understand why, considering the massive volume of fast food sold everyday and the thousands of daily flights, these companies don’t show more environmental consciousness and use biocompostable, biodegradeable disposable serving containers. They do exist and plenty of restaurants use them for take out! Starbucks and McDonalds are going towards more environmentally friendly containers and Dunkin’ Donuts recently eliminated Styrofoam coffee cups, but there is still such a long way to go. It’s a complex issue I know, with cost being the bottom line. The next time you are at a fast food restaurant, ask for more environmentally friendly containers. That’s how change happens.