Tag Archives: environment

No styrofoam: Reusable doggy bag reminds me of my mother-in-law

Whenever we went to a restaurant with my Mother-in-law, she would always take home a few sugar packets and a bit of meat for the dog wrapped in a paper napkin. I felt embarrassed. How times change.

Though we don’t take sugar packets, my husband and I do get a doggy bag when we eat out. My husband insists that we take the fries home to reheat for the grandkids and a little bit of meat for our incredibly spoiled dog. Unfortunately, our favourite restaurant uses Styrofoam boxes for the leftovers.

Reuseable doggy bag

Take your own doggy bag

Styrofoam is actually polystyrene. But the foam containers at restaurants and packaging are commonly called Styrofoam. Common Styrofoam is thrown away and not recycled. Not a market.

In memory of my Mom-In-Law we now take her favourite reusable Tupperware for the doggy bag. (BTW, if you know where I can find more containers with an attachable lid, I’m buying them!) Costco and Boar’s Head food truck have disposable containers that are compostable.

In Ontario, companies are now supposed to find alternatives to Styrofoam and eventually look after their own packaging. Not sure what will happen with the change in provincial government.

Vancouver and  various American states have banned Styrofoam restaurant containers. Legal staff say Waterloo region could also do this. They would consult with restaurant owners and the public before moving ahea. if you think this is a good idea, lobby your Regional councillors or the province.

Everyone is for the Environment Until Inconveniences Them.

I have a good friend who says this about the environment when ever I go Suzuki on her.

“Everyone is for protecting the environment until they have to pay for it or it inconveniences them.”

Getting rid of coal-fired plants was (and still is) a good idea. But no-one wants a wind farm near them or a rise in hydro rates. Even reducing use of electricity by turning off the lights or doing the laundry later seems too much.

Putting aside the issue of Light Rail Transit, people are now contacting me to say they do not want to pay for the slight increase in taxes to pay for regular transit. Even though as I went door-to-door , people were very much in favour of more transit in their neighbourhood. I have had a parent tell me she drives her teen-agers all over town, rather than have them take the bus because the reduced high school bus pass is too expensive.  I would think teens would be the first to travel on the bus. (Just adding, I am looking at other parts of the budget for cuts to cover the regular transit increase, but still I know you get my point)

People are also complaining about the 5 cents they are charged for a plastic bag for groceries. I admit, remembering those reusable bags can be difficult until you get into the habit. A kit I got at Curves contains three reusable bags that can be rolled up small and put in a purse or backpack. But with my new busy lifestyle as Chair of GRCA, I admit I need to get back on the wagon with this one and not end up paying for the occasional plastic bag because my reusuables are waiting on the kitchen table for a re-roll!

But new habits can be learned and I don’t think removing the 5 cents from plastic bags just because us old dogs are taking time to learn new tricks is a good excuse. There is a hashtag on Twitter called #firstworldproblems. It lists tweets of inconsequential annoyances like an empty ketchup bottle at a restaurant, that really, if we were poor people in the third world, we wouldn’t care.

Compared to the problems of asthma and premature death caused by coal-fired plants and greenhouse gases, a trip on a bus or forgetting a reusable grocery bag seem small.