Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are a couple of ways to reduce plastic pollution through practices that encourage sustainable take out methods. 

• How can donors help restaurants drive progress in sustainability and decreasing plastic pollution? 

• Here are 10 facts about plastic pollution you need to know. 

We can live without Friday happy hours at the bar, seeing a show at the local theater, or, much to our dismay, a weekend outing to our local beach or park. But there’s no compromising a healthy well-balanced diet. In a new reality dominated by takeout, delivery, and empty shelves at the grocery store, finding a sustainable and healthy meal for your family can be a struggle.

Unfortunately, with increased takeout comes increased single-use foodware. Depending on where you order from, you may receive plastic, paper, EPS foam (Styrofoam™), aluminum, or fiber-based containers. We already know that plastic hosts a slew of health concerns, from microplastics to chemical leaching, and fiber-based options often contain PFAS, otherwise known as “forever chemicals.” But what we don’t fully know is how COVID-19 reacts to these materials.

A recent study found that the viable virus lasts longer on polypropylene plastic and stainless steel surfaces (up to three days), than on copper and cardboard surfaces (roughly four and 24 hours). Therefore, it is important to play it safe and try to limit the amount of packaging that is entering your home.

If you choose to order takeout, or your situation demands it, Surfrider recommends the following guidelines:

  1. Order from an Ocean Friendly Restaurant Our Ocean Friendly Restaurants program consists of local leaders that are not only feeding our communities, but are also reducing plastic pollution and conserving water and energy at the same time.
  2. Request no utensils or straws and minimum packaging 
  3. Transfer items out of to-go containers, especially if hot 
  4. Wash hands thoroughly before digging in
  5. Dispose of packaging properly

Read the full article about reducing plastic pollution by Rachael Coccia a Surfrider Foundation.