Reduce litter: bring your own cup and plate to a fast food joint!

United States
March 8, 2013 1:42pm CST
This is ridiculous but it does drive home a point. Fast food joints sell us their products in paper and plastic containers and wrappings. It all makes for more trash to end up in land fills and out in the middle of the ocean somewhere. I watched this documentary called Bag It and he went to Burger King, I think it was. He asked if he ordered could they out the drink in his cup and the food on his plate. The girl at the drive through is kind of perplexed. She says she will have to ask her supervisor. She comes back and tells him no. It would be cross contamination and they can't do that. The guy pointed out that he didn't want to create waste by accepting food in plastic. She said he could come in the store and order his food and take it out of the plastic himself. Well, that kind of defeats the purpose. Plastic stays in the environment way beyond our lifetimes. I agree with the speaker on the documentary. Our legacy to those who come after us are great pyramids. Pyramids made of plastic, paper and other trash. If you really are concerned with waste and want fast food chains to change maybe everyone should stop buying fast food. They don't want to accept your plate and glass but they don't mind taking your contaminated money? Yes?
3 people like this
17 responses
@winterose (39931)
• Canada
10 Mar 13
they don't let you do that here either. You have to use their products which gives the correct servings which also becomes a money issue for them.
3 people like this
• United States
12 Mar 13
Yeah. I wasn't serious when I said bring your plate to a fast food joint. It looked so funny when the guy in the documentary did that. The worker didn't know what to say. He was just making a point of all the waste.
1 person likes this
@peavey (15874)
• United States
8 Mar 13
I very seldom buy fast food, but it's not only fast food that contributes to our "pyramids" made of trash. What about the styrofoam trays that meat is packaged on at the grocery? Then it's covered with plastic wrap. And the boxes that hold bags of various things. I think over packaging is a big part of the problem, too. Good point, about not minding taking your contaminated money. I read not long ago that paper money is probably the filthiest thing we handle on a daily basis. I think debit and credit cards would be, too. But fast food places can't put their product on your plate or in your cup? I understand their point (sort of) but it's ridiculous. Our priorities are messed up.
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 13
Yes you are exactly right. That styrofoam isn't recyclable so it all adds up. Fast food is only part of the problem. Millions of people go through the drive throughs on the way home from work. I used to do it all the time without a second thought. That does contribute a lit if waste. Then there is glass and all the stuff we buy that ends up in the trash after a short time.
1 person likes this
@peavey (15874)
• United States
8 Mar 13
True. Glass can be recycled, though, and it can be reused, although most companies don't do it.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
11 Mar 13
A lot of 'stuff' we buy ends up being given away or donated... unless it gets totally worn out or broken. At that point it's no good to be donated or used again.
@blackrusty (3532)
• Mexico
8 Mar 13
well your making me feel so much better since I don't go out to eat but 2 times a year but there are far worse things then handling dirty money how about the server that does not wash his hands after he or she has been to the restroom and then handles anything that you put food on do you still want to go out for dinner
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 13
I eat out once a month. I agree! We never know the hygiene of people. Just because there is a sign in the restroom doesn't mean they actually washed their hands.
1 person likes this
@mariaperalta (19096)
• Mexico
8 Mar 13
never ever thought about that one. i do have a few customers here, who always bring in their own coffee, or cup for soda and coffee here. Saves me as well, on cups and lids.
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 13
Yes that would save you a bit. I think fast food restaurants should accommodate people who are concerned with disposable garbage. It takes a huge amount of unrenewable resources to produce the plastic and paper that is used once and thrown away after one use. I think if more people risked being a bit embarrassed they might bring about some change for the good. We recycle but much of what gets recycled isn't actually recycled. There is no regulation of who can and can't put that chasing arrows symbol on their products. They do it as a ploy to get us to buy their products.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
8 Mar 13
ACTUALLY, Starbucks does allow you to bring in your own travel mugs or cups, and you get a 10 cent discount on your drink too I think. Again, I think this is fine if someone WANTS to. I don't want anything that would ever FORCE someone to do this if they don't want to though. There are places where people have to pay for plastic grocery bags. I hope never to live somewhere where they do that because I will NEVER use reusable grocery bags. I reuse the plastic ones for all kinds of things and it irritates me that anybody would force me to pay for something that has always been free and always been something that was just done. Not to mention, if something explodes or spills in your reusable bag, then you face cross contamination among whatever was in your bag and anything that comes in contact with your bag after the fact. Oh of course I could just buy another one but I'm also not going to spend between 99 cents and $5 for a reusable bag.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Mar 13
If people really want to be eco-friendly, they won't be buying the rubbish sold at fast food joints. Every bit of the fast food industry is polluting--not just the packaging. Besides, who really wants to contaminate their bodies with that garbage?
2 people like this
• United States
19 Mar 13
Look at the LONG lines at the drive throughs. It looks like half the town is at one or another fast food joint. I remember when I was working and living all alone. I went to Hardee's and McDonald's every day for at least one meal. In one month I gained 30 pounds! I quit that when I realized my clothes we too small and had to buy bigger clothes. There's no telling what I could have done to my arteries and heart. My cholesterol is good now because I rarely eat out.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
12 Mar 13
My ex runs an employee cafeteria. For, I think, $10, he will sell you a ceramic bowl. You come in, buy your food, they put it in your bowl. When you're done, you leave the dirty one, and pick up a clean one for next time. so it's not really such a dumb idea, I'm just not sure it would work in a McDonald's type environment.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Mar 13
That's a great idea. That might not work in fast food cuz someone would have to be hired to wash dishes.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Mar 13
I would think that fastfood places would want to help the environment by allowing people to bring in their own plates. I am sure that the staff can tell the difference between a clean plate and a dirty plate. I know that Starbucks allows you to bring in a cup and you get 10 percent off of your drink. I only know this because my friend loves Starbucks and goes everyday and she told me.
2 people like this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
11 Mar 13
I think it's great that Starbucks does this.... but I don't bring in cups lol! I do have one but I never remember. I'm glad it's not REQUIRED.
@celticeagle (115084)
• Boise, Idaho
8 Mar 13
Most of these fast food places are working to make their cups, plates, and etc. with material that breaks down fast. And when I am out and about it isn't any of this stuff I see it is plastic bags. So if he will use the same energy being sure groceries stores and department stores use brown bags or whatever then I think he will be doing more good.
• United States
8 Mar 13
I know some biodegradable containers are made from straw. That's a good thing. Not sure what our fast foods are doing but I'm going to find out for an article. You are right about those plastic bags. I've quit using them for the most part. I have several cloth bags that I have bought from different markets.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 13
And you probably just sneezed on your money.
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 13
Yep. Think how many hands touch our money from the time it's minted till we have it in our hands. I rarely have cash on me but its the point that many people do. I pay with a debit card. That card has germs on it and they don't mind touching that.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
9 Mar 13
Well here's the thing, our world is quickly changing because of waste and big fast food chains like Burger King maybe are still somewhat trying to figure out the idea. I can say that because in a BK store near us, before they used plastic cups but now they use paper cups for the drinks. To me they are doing something, but it's just that they do not want to be blamed for food poisoning just incase the customer's cup or plate is not clean. They do not want to be blamed for things like that so I think they are just trying to protect the name of the company.
2 people like this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
19 Mar 13
I can understand in a sense WHY the refusal of the glass/plate. How do they know someone isnt planning to "make themselves sick" Its pretty easy for businesses and chains to be suspicious and protect themselves. I also understand the conecpt behind bringing ones own dishes. However one could just eat at a sit down restaurant that has real dishes instead.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Mar 13
The guy did that in the documentary to make a point of all the pollution it causes. Wilsongoddard, below, was right in her comment. Fast food not only pollutes the environment, but the industry pollutes the body.
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
20 Mar 13
It most definitely does - there is so much plastic, wrappers and Styrofoam from take it its rather obscene!
@GardenGerty (90967)
• Marion, Kansas
9 Mar 13
As I was reading your post, before I finished it, my first thought was that we all need to quit eating fast food anyway. I am working so many hours lately that I had hubby go get something from a fast food place. Now their carton was cardboard, in a paper plate, but the condiments come in plastic. We did not get soda. We both found ourselves feeling ill later in the afternoon.
1 person likes this
• Canada
9 Mar 13
Good morning..GG! Point well made...I, too, very, very seldom indulge in Fast Food! First, we don't have FF outlets on the Island! BUT, once in a while, whilst on a town run, pressed for time...I will stop at DQ or Mickie D's for food to eat on the Ferry home. By the time we get off the Ferry, it is a race for home...for the washroom, or for Antacids..OR BOTH! Does NOT happen, if I eat some fruit. The spin-off health effects from ingesting all those chemicals is really starting to be obvious in the current generations...just obesity for one!
@GardenGerty (90967)
• Marion, Kansas
9 Mar 13
You are right, I believe it is all the fats and sugars together. If I am indulging I find that fresh or even canned pineapple is the best thing to make me feel less ill.
@natliegleb (5188)
• India
9 Mar 13
why is that this way,if someone does not bring it ,they will be thrown it is quite surprising and startling me ,then more people wont come at all to that place
1 person likes this
@artemeis (4004)
• China
9 Mar 13
For starters, I am wondering why the host chose a junk food joint where the food has so much controversial issues where cross contamination is not the only issue. However, I am wondering if the system could be fine tuned a little here where these joints could provide a more permanent and reusable receptacle for the patrons. In this sense, these receptacles can be returned to the eateries for washing and reuse. As for takeaways, using Tupperware which can be reuse - all the eatery will need to do would be to give a discount for the new order, collect these returned reusable receptacles for cleaning and reuse.
@bunnybon7 (33048)
• Holiday, Florida
8 Mar 13
there should be a way. i remember when everything didnt come in plastic. there is still things that come in paper/ cardbard also. they dont have to use plastic at all. i wonder what fast food organization will jump on that to get ahead of the rest? i bet one could.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
8 Mar 13
Having worked in food service a long time ago, I get this. In fact, most of the time they won't even fill up a water bottle for you if you ask them to when you go through the drive thru, although they are somehow willing to hand you out a water cup and refill it 6 times until you've dumped it all into your water bottle. Same with ice, they won't put ice in your water bottle either, but they'll hand you out 6 cupfuls . If I have the time, I usually park and go inside because they don't fuss if you refill your water bottle yourself at the soda fountain - as long as you only put ice and water in it or pay for soda lol. I actually am not a green consumer nor an environmentalist so I personally do not have issues with fast food, plastic, paper, or the like. In fact, it rather bothers me that so many people want to infringe on my rights to use disposable products or have access to fast food when I want. I think it's perfectly fine for someone who does not want to use paper, plastic, or cardboard to make sure they personally do not add to the waste, but it's not okay to expect others to agree or go along with a plan to get rid of everything. I had an issue with that at a prior place I worked, and let me tell you, I stuck it to the person who was trying to force everyone to use reusable items - I just bought my OWN disposable cups, as did other people. People steal coffee mugs, silverware, and water bottles like you would not believe. It's not worth it to replace stolen dishes, it's cheaper to buy a sleeve of red solo cups.
@mommyboo (13207)
• United States
8 Mar 13
Also, the money thing - people who handle the money are usually not actually prepping food. When I worked in the drive thru, I only took orders, OR I only gathered up the orders and handed them out the window, not both. If I cashiered, I was at the register the entire shift, not in the back making salads, grilling meat, and dropping fries. If I was actually cooking stuff, I never touched money or came in much contact with customers. I think they are right not to allow people to use their own dishes for fast food. In case you forgot, fast food is a convenience thing. It goes along with the territory.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 13
Hi Mommyboo! I get you. I really do. But here's the thing. Not just fast food either, it is us too. Everyone who has trash either takes it to the dump themselves or we take our dumpsters to the end of our driveways to be emptied by the trash trucks. The trash is taken away. Where is 'away?' I know I won't stop going to Sonics once a month to get my Chicago Dog. But I am mindful of how much trash in accumulating. I won't buy often from fast food for many reasons. We will never do away with fast food, but if more concerned people are less in those places they might at least feel they are not adding to the problem. It's really sad that so much trash winds up in the rivers and oceans where wildlife are injured and killed. In some places there is more plastic in the oceans than food. The fish mistake it for food. We eat fish that come out of the ocean. At least I do sometimes. I think it's everyone's job to be aware of the problem whether they care or not. I used to feel good about recycling, and I still think it helps, but the waste we create on this planet is terrible. We don't see it so it doesn't matter. It's not just fast food, like I said. I like fast food sometimes. It's just our culture (for lack of a better word) to create waste and use up unrenewable resources creating one time use containers. I bring my own bags to go shopping now. I never would have done that a year ago. It may not make a difference in the long run but I like to think it does.
1 person likes this
@lumenmom (1997)
• United States
9 Mar 13
I agree that everyone should be aware of the problem. It is so easy not to do anything about it if the issue is so far removed from you personally. I can attest to coming from a background of excess waste just for the convenience of it. In these last few years I have taken the time to become more educated and and as a result more responsible or "response able" to adjust my ways and be part of the solution. I am not dogmatic about it, I just make a few changes at a time but I feel they all add up. What irks me is my family (specifically my husband) has not come on board. He will grab big handfuls of napkins, paper towels, and plastic ware from restaurants and other places and therefore use more of these things and just throw them away. I feel his portion of waste is nullifying my efforts at saving, but then I can't change him, I can only change myself and be an example.
@marguicha (81647)
• Chile
20 Mar 13
Interesting post! Yet it seems that fast food chains are littering in more ways than one. They also litter our body and shorten our life. There`s no way a hamburger could be xalled a well balanced meal anywhere in the world. And it is very expensive considering what it is. They contaminate from our body to the planet. And we let them do that if we go to eat there.