Alternatives to recyclable take-out containers

When you order take-out, have you ever thought about the environmental impact of your purchase? Many restaurants use Styrofoam or plastic containers that either cannot be recycled or may take up to 100 years to decompose in a landfill. While attending cooking schools online, you may be thinking about opening your own restaurant in the near future. You can choose to use materials that are better for the planet when you are in a decision-making position after finishing school. Here are some better alternative containers:

Plantable cups
A company called Reduce. Reuse. Grow. officially funded its Kickstarter campaign on March 15, 2015 to create coffee cups embedded with seeds from native California plants. The company hoped to raise $10,000 and ended up receiving a total of $21,077 towards the mass production, marketing and shipping of its coffee and to-go cups. Currently the products are just prototypes, but with the new funds are sure to come to fruition and be available throughout California soon. The cups can be tossed in the trash with the knowledge that they will decompose in 180 days to become wild flowers and other plants in the landfill. Or you can unravel the cup, soak it in water for five minutes and plant it. It's a pretty sweet deal for the planet either way!

Compostable containers
Take-out containers that are made out of eco-friendly materials that can be composted are available for restaurants and other establishments to use. They can be made out of corn (for clear containers) and sugarcane (for ones that resemble Styrofoam but are much better for the earth). The only downside to using some of these options is that they are not microwavable. You can, however, send them off to a commercial compost facility where they will break down and return to the ground with much less of an environmental impact than other non-compostable containers. There are even compostable takeout bags and trash-liners to take your green-friendly kitchen to the next level. 

While taking a stand and choosing to use containers that are not as bad for the earth as other options is a good start, it's just one step. You can help in many other ways, like buying organic produce, avoiding using harsh chemical cleaners and reducing your water and electricity use. Not only do these help to save the planet, they often save the eating establishment money. 

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