Plastic Pandemic amid COVID-19

With millions of infected and thousands dead, COVID-19 has reshaped many aspects of our lives. From how we go to the stores, what our children do during the day to how we eat food prepared by others.

Going to restaurants was such a common thing that we took for granted until it was take away from us. Having a waiter come to your table, offering you daily specials to that great taste of the chef’s prepared meal is special.

Thanks to the takeout websites, Uber Eats, Doordash, etc., many restaurants stayed afloat and were able to serve their customers. This came at a cost to the environment.

Whenever going to a restaurant, you are typically served on a reusable, washable plate. This plate goes back into the kitchen, where it is washed and reused. The utensils follow the same path. All of this allows the restaurant to keep the cost down and not pollute the garbage bag with disposable items.

But how do you provide a takeout service without having disposable packaging? You cannot. The food must go into an appropriate container, suitable for that item. There is a wide range of takeout containers: Paper,Paper lined with a plastic
coating, heavy plastic packaging, light plastic packaging, regular grocery style paper bags, regular grocery style plastic bags, and the list goes on.

What happens at the end of the takeout meal? We have to dispose of the packaging, and here is where the fundamental problem arises, and we call it Plastic Pandemic.

Do people recycle? What is recyclable? What is not? How do you recycle properly? Does the recycling company actually recycle?

It would be difficult to count the times my family has done takeouts in the last few months and to add to that, how many times we have done it at the office. One thing for sure: a lot! We are not alone, I am positive many households and businesses across our country and the world have faced a similar issue.

We are asking anyone reading this blog to check your local recycling guidelines and see what you can do to reduce the Plastic Pandemic. Check what is recyclable, and if it can be, how must the container be prepared? Does it have to be washed? Can you take your regular grocery bag from the restaurant and recycle it at an appropriate facility? Can you ask your takeout vendor not to include utensils so that you can use the ones you have a home and wash them instead of throwing them out? If possible, ask for a smaller number of containers. Whatever you do, it will yield results.

At some point, the world will go back to normal, and we can visit our restaurants again and enjoy food on a reusable plate with the reusable utensils. But until that time comes, please take care of our planet.