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On my first date with a certain man, he took me to a lovely Italian restaurant. We had a great time, with excellent conversation and food. But at the end of the meal, he did something that embarrassed me. He reached into his shoulder bag and pulled out a handful of food containers with lids, set them on the table, and proceeded to spoon in the leftover salad and pasta.

At first, I was mortified...

I was mortified. Was everyone staring at us?  

Actually, most other customers were completely unaware. But if they had noticed, today I would be proud. It took a few more dates, but gradually I got it. When you bring your own containers to the restaurant to take home leftovers, you:

  • don't eat more food than you need.
  • make sure that leftovers don’t go into the compost or landfill.
  • avoid using styrofoam or other throw-away containers.  

You also set an example to others.

...and later, impressed.

Today, that man and I are married, and when we go out to eat, we always bring food-storage containers. Before leaving home, I toss the reusable units into my bag, and bring them out at the end of the meal to ensure that nothing edible goes to waste. Other customers do notice sometimes – and occasionally comment admiringly.  

Wasting food is a shame – and usually unnecessary. Consider trying our method, and bringing a few washable, resealable containers when you eat out.  

Meanwhile, there are many initiatives to encourage less food waste. For example, CBC's Passionate Eye produced this recent summary of 15 such initiatives.  There’s also a great collection of ideas to use food better at Love Food, Hate Waste

Please share others with me in the comments below. Thanks!

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