To-go boxes just confuse me. Why do restaurants insist on packing our food in these things? Often I find that they are much bigger than needed and in the end, they get tossed. It’s a waste. Don’t let the recycling emblem on a food box trick you. It’s nearly impossible to recycle styrofoam (or any kind of packaging that has food bits, grease, etc stuck on it.)

Being on the road, I have the capacity to go through many of these boxes. I always ask for my leftovers to be wrapped in a piece of tin foil. Sometimes the server looks at me as though I’ve sprouted a third head from my armpit when I ask for a piece of tin foil as opposed to a box. Sometimes I have to take extra time to explain that I do not want a to-go box. But it’s worth it.

Obviously, some wet items like soup or chinese food necessitate more packaging, but for that extra half-sandwich, this is a small and very effective way to cut down on waste. Plus, an item wrapped in foil fits easier into your purse or back-pack. I’ve even carried leftover pancakes tucked flat and neat inside my journal with this method. It’s easier to trek when your hands are free and you’re not lugging around a burdensome bag with a to-go box inside.

Remember – it’s all about re-education. People don’t think of solutions as it’s often easier to accept what is presented – and restaurants usually only give the option of a to-go box. Help re-educate in restaurants. Ask for your leftovers to be wrapped in tin foil. Or if you want to get really hard-core eco-friendly, ask for a newspaper wrapper. For now, tin foil works for me.