How to Do Takeout the Eco-Friendly Way

takeout food in single-use container

Do you love going to restaurants but hate all the waste created by takeout meals? Make it your New Year’s resolution to try some new local dishes without filling up your garbage. Here’s how:

Join the Reusable Green To-Go Box Program

Get a takeout order or bring home your leftovers in a reusable to-go box from a participating restaurant in Truckee! Participating restaurants include Red Truck, Siam Cuisine, The Station and Stella.

How It Works:

  1. Purchase your first to-go container for $5 at any participating restaurant.
  2. Rinse the box once you’ve finished eating.
  3. Bring the box back to trade for a new one with your next order at any participating restaurant. If you’re picking up a call-in order, be sure to request it in a reusable green box before they box it up for you!

More information can be found on the Reusable To-Go Container Program page.

Bring Your Own Container (BYOC)

Headed to the restaurant down the street? Before you go, check your cabinet for a clean reusable container, preferably with a lid, to take with you. Getting a drink? Bring a thermos or bottle. Restaurants around the country are starting to encourage BYOC and California just signed into law a bill, AB 619, which makes it official: As of January 2020, restaurants are legally allowed to serve food and beverages in consumer-provided reusable containers. Keep an eye out for restaurants that start to offer a discount for bringing your own container.

Bring Your Own Utensils

Eating on the run? Skip the plastic or compostable utensils and bring your own instead. That fork or spoon that doesn’t quite match any of the others in your silverware set is the perfect candidate for your zero waste take-out kit. Keep forgetting your utensils at home? Consider keeping a set in your purse, backpack or car.

Just Say “No Thanks”

When you’re ordering takeout, think ahead about the items you need and don’t need. Ordering food to take home? Skip the utensils, napkins and condiments — you probably have them at home in your kitchen. Now that you’ve cut out all the stuff you don’t need, you might even be able to skip the plastic bag you previously needed to get it all home.

Dine In

Here’s an easy one. Try eating at the restaurant instead of getting your food to-go. In general, restaurants tend to use fewer single-use products for customers dining in. Look for restaurants using reusable plates, silverware and glasses instead of disposables. And don’t forget to bring your own to-go container for the leftovers.

When you do go get takeout food, no matter how much or little waste you prevent in the process, make sure you dispose of everything correctly by looking it up in our Recycling Guide.