Convenient Fast Food Is a “Waste” of Time

fast food waste

fast food waste

Adults and children alike eat fast food at an alarming rate partly because of its taste, mostly because of its convenience, and certainly not because of its health benefits. Fast food waste is the second major contributor to street litter-second only to cigarette butts according to a study conducted by Keep Britain Tidy, a British anti-trash campaign by a leading environmental group in the UK. Evidence in the US supports similar findings. What can consumers do to make a difference? Slow down; make better choices about food consumption and pack convenient meals for on-the-go lifestyles. Avoiding fast food is a healthy choice and a strong step toward greener living.

With golden arches on every corner and convenience stores open seven days a week and 24 hours a day, it’s too easy to swing through a drive-thru for a cold drink or warm sandwich in the middle of a busy day, on a tight schedule with a stomach that is growling. That unplanned drive-thru meal costs money-that adds up-and creates more consumer waste (and let’s not talk about the added calories). Packing food before leaving the house is a healthier choice and a greener one. Like a mother or father packs school lunches in the morning, adults can pack snacks and lunches on a regular basis as well.

Create waste-free lunches by buying food in bulk that is easy to pack in reusable containers and tastes good. Although time consuming at the most hectic time of day-trying to get out the door to school, work or a meeting-preparing and packing food beforehand can be just as convenient as fast food while producing less waste. Whether it is a warm piece of left over lasagna or cold water in a refillable container, a hot cold bag can help keep snacks and lunch a desirable temperature and ready to eat. When an evening meeting lasts longer than expected or the kids warn that they are starving to death after a long day of school and can’t survive the ride home, self-packed food can be a lifesaver.

While fast food establishments are working harder to be greener, foods wrapped in paper or cardboard boxes, placed in a paper or plastic bag, and handed over with a pile of napkins an inch thick with a straw wrapped in a tiny paper sleeve, hardly seems environmentally friendly. However, as long as consumers continue to accept the waste, restaurants and convenience stores will continue to hand it over.

Take a stand against the waste that fast food generates by packing healthy foods that taste good, shrink the wallet and might even shrink the waist.

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