hold the paper, hold the plastic

For those of you who have ever ordered takeout or delivery, which I’m assuming is all of you, listen up. 

According to the Clean Air Council, almost 1/3 of the waste generated in the U.S. is from packaging.  The U.S. population tosses out enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.  And plastics take 1000 years to decompose!

Most restaurants provide an overload of paper napkins, plastic utensils and condiments with their outgoing takeout orders, often way more than is needed.  The New York State Restaurant Association reports that much of it goes directly into the garbage, creating a municipal solid waste disposal headache.  Or it joins a cluttered collection in our drawers and cabinets.  The practice costs restaurants money, and to add insult to injury, there is a major cost to the environment.
 
The folks at Eco-To-Go are taking action, beginning in New York City, and asking consumers to do their part.  This grass-roots initiative began in March 2007 and is an Earth-conscious collaboration between businesses and the public. Customers call in food orders at participating establishments and request their takeout or delivery order “Eco-To-Go.”  The restaurant will pack the order without unnecessary paper and plastic products.  Created by EcoAgents Anna Ayers and Fabian Lliguin, the program has more than NYC 35 restaurants and 250 participants signed up to date, including Adinah’s Farm Deli and Buffet, A La Turka, Al’s Coffee Cart, Cafe 69, Carrot Top, Cilantro, Coogans, Dallas BBQ, Delizia, Dos Caminos, EJ’s Luncheonette,  El Deportivo, Good Health Café, Giorgio’s Pizza, Gotham Coffee House, Grace’s Marketplace, Green Kitchen Restaurant, Happy Jade House, Jou Jou Inc., Korhogo 126,  Le Gourmet, Melange, Mike’s Bagels, NoLita House Restaurant and Bar, Plum Pomidor, Shangri-La, Taco King, Tayrona Café Bakery, Tony’s and University Deli.  For more information on Eco-To-Go including how to become a participating restaurant visit http://ecoagents.org.

Every little effort counts, so let’s encourage Miami-area restaurants to get into the act.  Who knows…  Maybe the movement will take hold down here, too.  In the meantime, you can show your support by becoming a fan of Eco-To-Go on Facebook.  If you know of restaurants in Miami who are already practicing responsible packaging policies, please leave a comment below!

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