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Being A Greenminded Diner

The conservation and protection of ourselves and our environment needs to be a continuous, permanent effort, not reserved to certain areas of our lives. Therefore, whatever we are doing, we need to be aware of the impact we are having on our environment. When eating in a restaurant, there are several steps that we can take to ensure that we are being green-minded and environmentally aware of our potential impact. For example:

  • Opt for draught beers and sodas from a machine, rather than those in bottles or cans. The bottles and cans consume huge amounts of energy to produce and only result in unwanted waste.
  • Take only as many napkins as you will use. If extra paper napkins are given to you, put them in your handbag and use them at a later stage.
  • Order dishes that are on special or opt for the buffet. These foods have been bought and prepared in bulk. This means that, if they are not ordered, there is a far higher possibility that they will go to waste.
  • Always ask about the source of the meat, fish or poultry. Even if you do order something that has not been raised in the best way, you are making the waitron (and, therefore, their manager) aware of your preference for animals that have been reared in a kind, sustainable way (as opposed to battery chickens, for example) merely by asking about it. Of course, it is preferable for you to refrain from ordering these dishes at all if you do not agree with the way in which they were farmed, fed or raised.
  • Drink tap water, not bottled water. Most bottled waters are not that much purer than what comes out of the taps anyway.
  • Do not take anything that you do not need or want (such as swizzle sticks, straws, lids for coffee, and so on).
  • If the restaurant offers a stay-in or take-away option, try to stay at the establishment. This usually means receiving your order on ceramic or glass crockery, rather than plastic or polystyrene. Take-away cups and plates can be very difficult to degrade in the long run, and are a major source of pollution. Consider taking along your own re-useable coffee mug with a lid, if possible.
  • Try to eat food that is produced locally. These require less transportation (saving on fuel energy) and support the local communities.
  • If your hotel or lodge has made no effort to recycle or be environmentally responsible, consider sending them an email or letter suggesting that they improve in this area. It should be polite, and may include suggestions. If they have taken steps to be green-minded, commend them and make a point of using their initiatives (such as recycling bins or grey water systems).
  • Use fair trade products as much and as often as possible, requesting it from your waitron. Coffee is a product that is particularly susceptible to ‘unfair’ traded, so to speak.
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