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Dear Lola,

Why do restaurants give you silverware when you order a delivery of food? In light of the excessive amount of plastic filling our oceans, it would be better for them to ask if the customer needs utensils. If saving the planet from death isn’t enough motivation, surely restaurants realize how much money they could save by not giving out unnecessary utensils.

Sincerely,
Perplexed by Plastic

Dear Lola

Dear Perplexed by Plastic,

Plastic is such an amazing invention that has changed the entire world – in both good ways and bad. I understand your dilemma because my friends of the water are struggling to survive in this current environmental climate of toss away containers. I think many of us have seen that upsetting video on Facebook that shows the turtle with a straw stuck in his beak. On the other hand, plastic provides sterile containers for medicines that can be safely transported all over the world.

Any reduction in unnecessary plastic helps the environment tremendously.

Restaurants typically include silverware because it’s easy to automatically throw it into every bag. Think about this – you order your meal, request plastic silverware because you’ve recently moved and haven’t unpacked yet. Your delicious spaghetti arrives and behold! No plastic silverware was included because the person who bagged the order forgot to place it in per your request. Unlike my adorable species, humans seem to frown upon sticking their heads into a bowl to eat.

You’ve also mentioned that restaurants would save money by not including plastic silverware, and they would. However, plastic is so cheap that the managers and owners typically don’t care about this minor cost. Especially when they are the ones dealing with a screaming customer on the phone.

So what can we do to stop the waste?

Request specifically that the restaurant does not include plastic silverware into your order. If they do, kindly write them a message on social media channels – make a public appeal to have them stop doing so. Inform them of the environmental damage they are unintentionally causing. Be prepared to stop ordering from places who won’t comply. You can also pick up your food instead of having it delivered. That will allow you to remove the plastic from your bag and ask that they consider inquiring if it’s needed when orders are placed.

Always be respectful. No one hears your message when they feel attacked.

You can reduce plastic use even when eating inside a restaurant. Decline plastic straws when they are offered. If you are at a restaurant with disposable cups, decline the plastic lid. Only take leftovers home if you are sure you will eat them. I can’t tell you the number of times the Mommybeast feels bad for “wasting” food and brings home leftovers that are eventually thrown out. Not only has she wasted the original food, she has now added a container to her list of guilt. You can also appeal to your favorite restaurants that they switch to biodegradable containers or those made with recycled materials. Restaurants want your business. Ask them to make changes and patronize the establishments that do! They will get the message.

March 22nd is World Water Day (we erroneously published the wrong column last week so we are late to the party). See what else you can do to help! The link will take you to the United Nations website dedicated to saving our planet’s water sources.

♥Lola♥

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