August 2022

· 2 min read

10 Eco-Friendly Strategies for Takeout Food

Did you know you can protect the planet with your pizza order? Here are ten tips for cutting down on takeout waste and prioritizing the environment.
A food delivery service boy hands over the parcel to a young woman - 10 Eco-Friendly Strategies for Takeout Food | NSF

You use tote bags at the grocery store — but your Taco Tuesday takeout habits could be sabotaging your sustainability efforts. Ordering out has a significant impact on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food packaging, straws and drink cups make up 45% of the waste at landfills and contribute to about 15% of the planet’s methane emissions.

If you’re not ready to give up Friday-night pizza and your kids count on Saturday burgers and fries from the drive-thru, NSF experts offer these ten tips for cutting down on your takeout waste:

  1. 1

    Consider the Wow-Worthy Why

    By making the environment a priority, the bonus is that you and your family are doing your part to promote the science of sustainability.

  2. 2

    Be Resourceful

    Repurpose leftovers. Chop up the bread from your soup into croutons for your salad the next day, or save the extra salsa for an appetizer dip.

  3. 3

    Go Organic

    Check out takeout places that feature organic fruits, vegetables and meats. Organic means that their agricultural growing methods must meet strict standards related to pesticide, fertilizer and hormone use; soil quality; and animal-raising practices, according to the rules defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program for certification.

  4. 4

    Put Care Into Composting

    Save food scraps to create a compost pile.

  5. 5

    Explore Eco-Friendly Ways To Picnic

    When heading to the beach or park with takeout sandwiches and chips, pick up and dispose of all cartons, bags, and empty cups and containers to leave the places unlittered.

  6. 6

    Sip and Savor

    Be sure to recycle all your water and soda containers. Or consider putting a water filter on your tap.

  7. 7


    When you order, suggest to the server that you bring your own carryout bag. This probably isn’t going to work at the fast-food drive-thru, where speed is critical.

  8. 8

    Say No to Plastic Utensils and Straws

    It’s okay to tell the restaurant to leave out the plastic utensils. If you’re frequently eating on the go, consider investing in reusable utensils.

  9. 9

    Hold the Condiments

    If you’re bringing your food home, use the ketchup, mayo or mustard from your own kitchen. Takeout bags are usually stuffed with too many extra packets of condiments.

  10. 10

    Do Your Homework

    Check local recycling rules; you can find them on your town’s recycling website. Ask questions first. Before ordering for takeout or delivery, look into your local pizzeria’s or Chinese restaurant’s sustainability and food safety practices. Are they committed to combating climate change and protecting the planet?

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