Whilst it’s convenient and cost-efficient to cook at home, eating out can be a great way to try new dishes, support local restaurants and cafes, and indulge in a meal you haven’t made yourself. But how can you eat out ethically? Here are six tips for sustainable dining.
Opt for a vegetarian or vegan option
With cattle rearing alone producing more greenhouse gases than transport, choosing a vegetarian or vegan meal is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and support animal welfare. What’s more, the days of boring vegan and vegetarian options are over – now most restaurants and cafes serve a diverse range of delicious meat-free options. It’s a great way to discover new dishes and get inspiration for cooking at home.
Take home leftovers
Sometimes portion sizes are just bigger than you can manage in one sitting. Instead of these extras going in the bin, and later into landfill, ask to take leftovers home with you. Make sure the take away box is recyclable or go one step further and bring your own container with you. You’ll reduce food waste, get your money’s worth, and have lunch sorted for the next day!
Support local, seasonal, and sustainable foods
Think about where your food is coming from and whether it’s typical for that time of year. In terms of meats and fish, look for indicators on the menu – the more local, ‘native’, and organic, the better. For fruit and vegetables, check they are in season, are from a local and sustainable source, and have not traveled thousands of miles to get to the dining table.
Say no to straws
The impact of plastic straws on the environment and animals is now widely known. Instead of adding to this damage, refuse plastic straws and ask restaurants to do the same. Even better, invest in a metal or glass straw for your bag so you always have a straw on hand when you need one.
Rather than arriving in separate vehicles, try sharing a lift, walking, or taking public transport to the restaurant to reduce your carbon footprint.
A sustainable restaurant includes the workers as well as the food
How are the staff treated? What is the working environment like? Does the restaurant have a good reputation among staff and customers alike? Asking these types of questions before picking where to eat enables you to support businesses whose principles you agree with. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not just about the environment, but also promote sustainable living and working conditions for all. Going to a restaurant whose values you support is a great way to promote those who are in the business for the right reasons.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: La Maison Zéro Déchet in Paris. Featured Photo Credit: Stefano Borghi