The most difficult time to ensure that you reduce your waste is while you’re out. If you wind up going somewhere unplanned, it can be a tricky situation to avoid making trash. Here are a few ways to always be prepared (I feel like a girl scout saying this but, let’s be honest, the motto be prepared is very useful). If you have ever seen me around, I usually have either a backpack or a larger bag with me. There is a reason, and not just that I like to drag a bunch of stuff around with me. It’s because I am trying to be prepared for if I need to purchase something while I’m out.
Here’s what’s in my bag and what I suggest to carry with you when going out:
- stainless steel straw
- stainless steel water bottle
- travel mug
- a food container (again, I prefer stainless steel)
- a reusable bag- something which folding into itself is great
- a Keep Leaf food wrap http://keepleaf.com/litterlesslunch/
Be willing to communicate with vendors and shops to request that they place items you order in your own container. Generally, they do not have a problem with it if you explain that you are trying to reduce your waste and do not want single-use plastic, Styrofoam, etc.
Popular spots for coffee in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):
McDonald’s- does not accomodate bringing your own mug. I don’t eat here anyways but, I used to grab coffee from them pretty frequently and when I decided to switch to using my own container I was perplexed to find that they do not allow you to bring your own…
Tim Hortons- they will even make your sandwich/bagel using your own wrap if you ask. They also offer a $0.10 discount when you bring your own mug.
Starbucks- $0.10 discount.
Second Cup- I could not find any information that states they give you a discount. I am not sure if they accept bringing your own mug or not.
If you have had any positive or negative experiences with trying to reduce your waste in this way, please feel free to comment and share your experience with me!