Sustainable America Blog


"birefringence" by Photo Extremist

It takes less than a minute to slide your leftovers into a disposable take out container but the convenience stops there. That same packaging can end up in landfills for years, even decades, and according to, each year Americans toss enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times! That’s not even including plates and disposable take-out containers!

“birefringence” by Photo Extremist

TakeOutWithOut asks you to make a simple commitment. Either eat all the food you order so that you minimize food waste, or bring your own reusable take out containers to the restaurant.

The TakeOutWithOut Creed focuses on three easy actions that anyone, anywhere can take:

  • ReFuse unnecessary stuff– like when the take out container is put in a bag and you’re given a fork even though you’re taking the food home… where you have forks! Just say no to unnecessary waste.
  • ReTake your own reusables – they call it BYOR (Bring your own reusables) You’ll be serving as a great example to everyone else around you.
  • ReConsider your habits – Did you realize that Americans use some 500 million plastic straws a day! BeStrawFree a website started by 9 year old Vermont resident Milo Cress simply asks you to reconsider whether you really need a straw with your next Iced Tea.

Simple choices made on a grand scale can really make a difference. So next time you ask for a doggy-bag, give them your nifty reusable container and you can feel proud that you are part of an important movement to reduce restaurant waste!

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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