Below are suggestions of ways in which to change simple things to make dining out more eco-friendly. Click here to find out more about how food contributes to climate change, deforestation and threatens populations of wild animals
WATER & DRINKS
We’re lucky to live in a country where we have clean tap water that is safe for drinking. If you want water with your meal then you could consider asking for tap water. You’re not being a cheapskate; you’re saving the planet reducing unnecessary packaging waste!
If you prefer to drink through a straw then you could get a reusable straw. They're a much greener option to any single-use straw over time, even paper straws. Metal and glass straws are the best options as both of these materials can be recycled endlessly. Bamboo straws are also much better than disposable ones. Lots of reusable straws are sold with handy travel bags and there are even collapsible ones available for convenience. Just don't forget to ask for no straw when you order your drink!
TOP TIP: Why not consider an alternative to cow milk for your hot drink? It's a great way to be greener. Lots of cafes/coffee shops/restaurants around the UK now offer alternatives. Coconut, hemp, oat and pea-protein are the most eco-friendly milks to choose. After these, almond, rice and soy milks have more of an environmental impact however they are still much more eco-friendly than cow's milk.
MEAT & DAIRY
Cutting down on meat, especially beef, and dairy is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact when it comes to food.
When you're ordering food you could consider getting a vegetarian or vegan option. There are plenty of delicious plant-based meals out there and options are broadening with an increase in popularity.
The Good Fish Guide webpage and app are great tools as they show how sustainable different types of seafood are. This means ensuring enough fish are left in the ocean for a healthy balance of wildlife. It's a good idea to use the app if dining out. That way you can select seafood meals which aren't being over-fished.
Over a third of all food is wasted globally. If you're dining out it's better for the environment to still be mindful of leftovers. Ordering only what you know you can eat is a good place to start.
If you can't finish your meal then why not ask for a doggy bag to take the food home and have the next day? It prevents food waste, saves you money and could save you having to make lunch the next day too! If you've got a habit of having leftovers you could even take your own lunch box with you to take food home. There are collapsible lunch boxes available to make it all the more convenient to do so!
Paper napkins are often given to us when dining out. You could refuse them and get yourself handkerchiefs or reusable kitchen towel to use instead and cut down on unnecessary paper waste. After all, every tree counts in the fight against climate change.
Some cafes give out single-use cups and utensils even if you’re ‘eating in’. If this is the case it's a good idea to ask if they have reusables first. If not you could leave a complaint or a review online, bad reviews often lead to change. Single-use items when dining in are completely unnecessary, businesses only use them out of laziness. We shouldn't have to bring a reusable cup or utensils when 'eating in'. It's best to avoid these places or vocalise opinions of these issues to encourage positive change.