Why I Stopped Asking for Disposable Takeout Containers: Living the BYOB Life

UPDATED: 12/18/2019

As a foodie, I love eating out but inevitably I always order too much food and always have leftovers and normally have to ask for a to-go box.

I care about the environment and the amount of garbage and waste produced by humans, I absolutely HATED getting Styrofoam, plastic, and plastic-lined paper containers that would just get thrown out the next day after the food was eaten. Sometimes I would get a small amount of food given back to me in a huge plastic container – it seemed like a complete waste.

I started thinking – how can I stop using one-time-use disposable takeout containers?

The solution I came up with was to start bringing my own box with me when I go out to restaurants or food events. Yes, that’s right – I’m BYOBing (bring your own box).  I found these awesome Vremi Silicone Food Storage Containers on Amazon*. They collapse down FLAT into a third of their expanded size which makes them super easy for me to throw into my bag when I know I’m on my way out to eat.

Stack of reusable containers

PURCHASE Vremi Silicone Food Storage Containers on*

According to a Vox article from 2018,  the EPA reported that “packaging accounts for nearly 30 percent of all waste generated across the country… and this doesn’t include other single-use items like disposable plates and utensils, diapers, junk mail, and paper towels.” That is a LOT of waste!  If everyone started bringing their own takeout boxes to restaurants, we could surely start chipping away at that number.

I’ve even started bringing these with me EVERYWHERE. I bring them traveling so I can bring food on the airplane and fold the container down when I’m finished eating. I’ve even started bringing them with me when I know I’m going to take out food, such as my local burrito place.

Burrito in a reusable container

I just hand her my container and she packs the burrito in my reusable box rather than having to use a throwaway container. The business owner wins AND the environment wins!

There are some entrepreneurs and universities trying to make a dent in this disposable container problem.

Go Box, based out of Portland, OR offers a subscription service that allows you to request a reusable container from a food vendor who participates. Later, you can return the container at a drop-off point to be cleaned and redistributed – kinda like a Netflix for food containers.

On the university side, a company called OZZI provides reusable containers for schools and businesses to use in their cafeterias. Similar to Go Box, diners get their food in reusable containers then return the OZZI container to a drop-off location to be cleaned and used again.

You can get a good idea of how they work in this video by Vox (forward to 3:30 to see OZZI containers in use):

I would LOVE to see Go Box and a program come to the college campuses in the Denver and Boulder areas. This seems like something Denverites and Boulderites would love!

What do you think of the idea of bringing your own takeout box when you go out to eat or using reusable to-go boxes at cafeterias? 

*Please note:  I may receive a commission for purchases made through links to in this post.

Related posts

1 reply on “Why I Stopped Asking for Disposable Takeout Containers: Living the BYOB Life”

As someone who has carried metal straws for almost a decade, I can tell you the battle is with the restaurant and how they perceive the health department.
If you can order in, package the meal yourself, no worries.
You are lucky at your burrito joint.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.