This Sustainable Life: Eating out with Mother Earth

In Arts & Culture, Climate CrisisLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Anne-Marie Vettorel

Look at a bag of trash on Gould or Dundas streets and you’ll see that an overwhelming amount of Toronto garbage is food related.

Single-use cups, fast-food packaging, recyclable plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers and other silent eco-assassins are so common that they don’t seem like a big deal .

But how are students, take-out kings and queens who often don’t have time to sit down for a meal, supposed to reduce their impact? Here are five ways to give your lunches less bite.

1) Brew at home

Prepare coffee or tea at home before class, or at least give your neighbourhood barista your travel mug to fill.

Pick up your mug as you head out the door, even if you don’t feel like filling it right away. It’ll be on hand for pick-me-ups later, and you can drink water out of it in the meantime.

2) Don’t buy bottled or fountain pop

The Coca Cola Company, PepsiCo and the rest of the beverage industry spends millions lobbying for non-refillable bottles to avoid bearing the refilling costs, but this is an unsustainable practice. Plastic bottles and cans still require valuable resources to produce and recycle, and whatever is inside can almost always be purchased in bulk. Avoid this route altogether: drink water out of a refillable container, or sit down for a glass of soda.

3) Sharing is caring

Buy bigger portions when you eat out and split them to cut down on packaging waste. Another option is to save the leftovers in your fridge. Suddenly one container yields double the meals.

4) Pick up containers that can be reused or are eco-friendly

I love getting Chinese food from Good View, but I also love that their plastic containers make mean Tupperware later. The Oakham Café uses Ecotainer biodegradable products, which are also a greener form of packaging

If you want to get really fancy, check out Their products are easy to order. (Feel free to have them dropped off at the Eyeopener office, care of Anne-Marie Vettorel!)

5) Go meatless

According to the UN, 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from beef production. Every little bit counts.

Around the world: Did you know that 72 per cent of beverage bottles in Germany are legally required to be refillable?

Do you want Anne-Marie to answer your questions about sustainable student life? Send a quick email to


Leave a Comment