Using my own containers

What I learned about blogging today: If I’m going to be any good at it, I’m going to have to get a lot better at being up to date on news stories. I have a bad habit of letting my news intake fall behind a day or two.. always knowing that I will be able to catch up (somewhat) through podcasts and backlogged Twitter posts.

So today, my friend and social media mentor, @erin_braincandy, pointed out this Vancouver Sun article about MacDonald’s, and the fact that some customers had been refused when trying to use their travel mugs for coffee, citing company policy.

I have many opinions about MacDonald’s, most of which lead me to never step in their doors if I can help it. But that aside, they are obviously a scapegoat for what is a common problem. Sure, most places will happily pour your hot beverage of choice into your travel mug. But, as is pointed out in the article, more than once (notably at Tim Horton’s), I have been astonished to see that they take my mug, and still use a paper cup to measure out the amount. This absolutely floors me. Do they think I’m using my own mug because I like the colour? If they were concerned about the size, they could have brought this up with me. I would have paid for an extra large tea just to be sure that they wouldn’t use a paper cup to measure. Or told them that I know for a fact that my mug is exactly the size of a medium (proven by the last time someone filled it to the brim after measuring with a paper cup).

But there is more than the mug at stake. I am the type of person who refuses to eat out if I know there is going to be a take out container (especially a styrofoam one!) involved. If there will be a possibility, I take my own containers with me. My partner and I sit at any restaurant and pack our leftovers into our own containers. If we don’t have any with us (and if we knew we were going out for dinner, that wouldn’t happen), then we order much less food. That’s just the way we work. But I have been in take out places that refuse to put the food in the container. And my response is simply that I won’t eat there. Funnily enough, usually the vendor next door will happily put the food in my container!

Health concerns be damned. If I use my own container, I take my own risks. The minor risk of contamination you might think I risk by not washing my container to the industry standards are much better than the risk that all of those non-biodegradable, toxic styrofoam and dyed paper containers are posing to our land and oceans.

I would like to credit Plastic Manners with giving me a hyper-awareness of the small plastics that come with ordering the simplest things – the stirring stick, the cream containers, the plastic grass with the sushi. Once you start to look carefully, you realize that bringing your own mug is only the tip of the iceberg.

Where styrofoam goes to live forever. *

What is something you always bring out with you? Your own fork or chopsticks? Grocery bag? Is there something you always kick yourself for forgetting?

*Photo credit: SamuelBenoit, Flickr Creative Commons

6 responses to this post.

  1. Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good work.


  2. Hello, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!


  3. Highly energetic article, I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be a second part to this?


  4. I never thought about all the chemicals that go down the drain when I wash my hair! Thanks for the information, i’ll think twice about it now.


  5. Touche. Sound arguments. Keep up the amazing work.


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