Being zero-waste when dining out

Sometimes you can’t always be prepared and you may end up having to go the take-away route for lunch or dinner.  For me the issues always come from the take-away containers and other packaging.  My one weakness is pre-made sushi, but it frequently always comes wrapped in plastic, then those dreaded soy sauce fish.  After finding one too many of those fish during beach clean ups, I decided that had to be the one item I never used again.

A few tips I’ve developed when dealing with takeaway foods:

  • If you can always opt for options that come with paper packaging – Lord of the Fries  and Soul Burger (featured photo of delicious burger) are good at this!  And just ask for your sauce on the side, then recycle all the paper when you get home.  I’ve also had luck with takeaway pizza, burgers and most other bread-based takeaway options.  Just say no to plastic bags or individually wrapped sauces!  Places like Guzman Y Gomez wrap theirs in foil – just keep the foil in your bag and take home to recycle (yes you can recycle aluminium foil)
  • Say no to straws!  And bring re-usable drink bottles with you everywhere!
  • Most takeaway restaurants will let you BYO packaging – sushi, curries, stir fries, salads – always try to convince them to let you use your own container.  There is nothing in any legislation that says you can’t!
  • Invest in a Keep Cup or re-usable coffee mug
  • Make a ‘takeaway’ emergency pack!  I fill mine with a few containers, some soy sauce bottles that I refill at home, and re-usable cutlery (and a plastic bag I re-use just in case I buy something that may leak!)
  • If you can, say no to anything plastic – do you really need a spoon?

A few places I’ve had luck with so far:

  • Lord of the Fries – all paper packaging other than the sauce containers and milkshakes
  • Soul Burger – all paper packaging and utensils!
  • China Dim Sim Kitchen Bondi Junction – a small little takeaway place that puts everything in paper bags – also BYO plastic bag and take home some frozen ones!
  • Akira Sushi Bondi Junction – they actually adore my Spongebob container, just don’t forget to say no to the soy sauce!
  • Sababba – all paper packaging as long as you don’t get the extras like dolmades
  • Dumpling Hut Hornsby Food Court – opt for the ‘have here’ option and it comes in a cute steamer basket – BYO chopsticks and sauce container for dipping


Spongebob NoWaste-Pants says you should invest in a re-usable lunch box


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