Green Book Fairies #4: Let’s Talk About… On The Go!

This edition of Green Book Fairies looks at how we can reduce our plastic use on-the-go…

Let’s Talk About… being On The Go!

Welcome to the fourth day of the Green Book Fairies! As part of #plasticfreejuly we are sharing 31 ways to be more green. We hope that there are some nuggets you can pick up along the way.

We are now accustomed to convenience. This is never more prevalent than when out and about, picking up food and drinks on the go. 

The problem:

At least 16 billion coffee cups are used worldwide each year. Less than 1 in 400 – just 0.25% – are then recycled. The use of these cups leads to 6.5 million trees cut down, 4 billion gallons of water going to waste, and enough energy to power 54,000 homes for a year also goes to waste.

Forbes says about plastic cutlery: Some estimates put the number of individual plastic utensils wasted at 40 billion per year in the United States alone. After just one single use, most of them are thrown out and end up in landfills and in our waterways.

Not to mention, most snacks on the go are in some kind of non-recyclable material.

The solution

Don’t panic! There are some SUPER easy things we can all do to help. Yes, companies should be doing more, but most are driven by customer demand – so LET’S DEMAND CHANGE through our actions!

  1. Get into the habit of carrying with you items that would otherwise be disposable – for example reusable mugs/cups, a bottle, cutlery, jars for snacks, perhaps a thermos.
  2. STOP people adding cutlery to your bag when you buy takeaway food.
  3. Prepare food for lunch and pack it in your bag in a tub or beeswax wrap
  4. If you do end up buying lunch out, look for a plastic-free option
  5. Skip the iced tea or juice cased in plastic! Make it and have some in your fridge for when you get home – recipes on the blog today!
  6. Make breakfast to take with you – porridge/oatmeal stays hot for hours in a thermos!

Also – Pharrell Williams has co-designed an INCREDIBLE cutlery set made from recycled CDs and cutlery – seriously, as weird as that sounds, look at it, it’s beautiful. I mean, it’s well out of most people’s price range but we can enjoy the pretty pics.

Top tips:

When choosing a reusable cup, look for one made out of bamboo (so that it’s compostable at the end of its life) or from recycled materials. Note: you can’t just put ‘made from bamboo’ material straight in the compost. Pop it in an old pillowcase and crush it up with your feet (wear shoes!) (and ear muffs!).

When choosing a bottle, go for glass or metal – avoid plastic unless it’s recycled. It’ll be reused over and over, so that’s great, but at the end of it’s life we need to be conscious of its effect on the environment still.

Useful websites to visit

Earth Day has written a great article about ending plastic pollution.

Greenpeace is always top of the game when suggesting how to reduce your plastic use – they have been working on the issue for decades.

Fairy verdict

“On the go is where I have really struggled going green. But small change like having a small cutlery bag with a second bag for dirty dishes makes a big difference as I can always keep that in my bag. To go cups can be bulky, but I have started leaving a clean cup at work and in my car so I don’t have to have room in my bag.”

– Kaitlynn, Ontario 

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