Eat out to aid the environment

Here's why I think eating out is more economical and more environmentally friendly than eating in: packaging.

When you buy food from a grocery store, you are paying for a lot of packaging that you also have to pay to have taken to a dump. Restaurants buy their food in bulk, so there is less packaging. That means your money is going toward your meal and toward the chef, the restaurateur, the waiter, the dishwasher, etc. They are all a part of your local economy.

When you buy food from the grocery store, you're usually supporting a chain that is headquartered somewhere else, [and paying] for a lot of packaging that just gets thrown away and for the trucking industry to deliver all of that food that sits on shelves in boxes.

Restaurants can afford to support local growers more easily, as well, because they don't have to let food sit on the shelf and rot while it waits for someone to buy it. The restaurant can go through all of its tomatoes, etc., in a night.

Grocery stores prefer to buy from large agro-industry farms, which, as we all know, have a serious environmental impact and are detrimental to local economies other than those in which the farms reside.

Restaurants have better refrigeration, so produce lasts longer there than at your home. How many boxes of lettuce have you bought only to have half of it go bad before you eat it? So then you're throwing away your money in the form of rotten food you didn't eat along with the box or bag or whatever it came in.

For grocery stores to actually make more environmental and economical sense than restaurants, they'd have to sell their food without packaging. Imagine going to your local grocery store with your own boxes and jugs and filling all of them up with food that comes out of dispensers, rather than coming in a box. That would be sensible.

Also, remember that grocery stores use enormous amounts of power illuminating their space. Restaurants use significantly less electricity, which lowers carbon emissions. And if you live in a well-designed city, you can walk to a restaurant even if it's like a mile away. This would also help solve the obesity problem in this country. You can't really walk to and from a grocery store, even if it's close to a mile away, due to all of the crap you'd have to carry back. Plus, on the walk back, your milk and eggs and many other items would go bad. Grocery stores, as they are now, are a waste.

— Christopher Blake Burgher
Asheville

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10 thoughts on “Eat out to aid the environment

  1. Alan Ditmore

    Eating as cheaply as possible and donating whatever you save to contraception is orders of magnitude greener than that strategy, especially if you must drive to the restaurant.

  2. Wes Hoyle

    Somebodys momma and daddy must be putting lots of GREEN into someone elses bank account. Because for a poor person like me and most other hard working people in the asheville area eating out all the time is not an option unless you really like Wendys.

  3. Piffy!

    Stupidest. Letter. Ever. Ever.

    Eating out is one of the least sustainable aspects of modern culture. This letter writer’s idiocy makes my head hurt.

    Seriously. Milk and eggs ill go bad after a mile walk? Has this guy EVER even been to a grocery store?

    Is this Disclaimer satire?

  4. Piffy!

    [b]For grocery stores to actually make more environmental and economical sense than restaurants, they’d have to sell their food without packaging. Imagine going to your local grocery store with your own boxes and jugs and filling all of them up with food that comes out of dispensers, rather than coming in a box. That would be sensible.[/b]

    Now, if there was just some kind of BIN that held BULK items in them at Inlges or Greenlife or Earthfare.

    [b]When you buy food from the grocery store, you’re usually supporting a chain that is headquartered somewhere else, [and paying] for a lot of packaging that just gets thrown away and for the trucking industry to deliver all of that food that sits on shelves in boxes.[/b]

    Yeah, it’s not like 98% of the food sold in restaurants comes from Sysco or something.

    Seriously, tho, this the STUPIDEST LETTER EVER. Has this guy EVER cooked a meal or even worked in a restaurant?

  5. jimmytwotimes

    Consider this forehead slapped. What are they teaching children these days?

  6. Christopher

    “Seriously, tho, this the STUPIDEST LETTER EVER”

    “Stupidest. Letter. Ever. Ever.”

    Wow, its good to know that my letter has stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the stupid letters. It feels good to be the best at something, ya know? However, given the above quotations I’m not actually exactly sure if I did achieve this momentous accomplishment of having written the stupidest letter ever. As you can see, the first quote lacks a verb, which makes its meaning obscure. The second quote simply states the words ‘stupidest’, ‘letter’ and ‘ever’ twice without any connecting grammatical structure that would tie them into a meaningful sentence. So, I guess I can no longer make the claim of having written the stupidest letter ever. How disappointing.

  7. Christopher

    Ah, the burdened proletariat. You are a clever one. How much do you spend on cable every month? Maybe you smoke? Yet even with expenses like these you whine about not having enough money for supporting local restaurants or eating something a little healthier than ramen or kraft mac and cheese. Perhaps you don’t like the idea that I’m making these assumptions about you? Well pop quiz hot shot, how much money do you actually think I make? Less than a grand a month and none of it comes from momma or daddy. I haven’t had a steady full time job in this town for over a year. So before you shoot off your mouth try giving some thought to what stupidity is about to come out. I’m writing about questioning our extant beliefs concerning what is and what isn’t actually environmentally friendly or economically sound beyond the short term reality of our monthly expenses. We all work hard in one way or another to get by, but if we don’t start looking at our choices in a more critical light, (and stop just calling each other stupid or bemoaning our own pecuniary problems) we as a species will never move forward beyond the killer environmental/economic fog in which we are all trapped. So give my idea a little thought. Ax the cable bill, stop smoking, ride a bike or walk to work, don’t have any kids and support local businesses. Its time for new solutions and new thoughts.

  8. Christopher

    You know, I wrote this letter with the hopes of inspiring intelligent debate about the topic of how we get our food. I didn’t mean to insult anyone or offend people’s sense of fiscal responsibility. For the record, I don’t receive any money from ‘momma or daddy’, but I am interested in analyzing exactly how our daily expenditures change our local world and the world outside of Asheville. I’d really appreciate it if instead of just angrily tossing my ideas aside if commentators would offer some ideas of their own on how to improve what I’ve proposed.

  9. jimmytwotimes

    Christopher, the only angry one here is you. Maybe you don’t have the experience of working in the foodservice industry, so I suggest you go look in a restaurant dumpster right before it gets picked up. The amount of waste in this industry is sometimes unbelievable. It accounts for I think 30-35% of the total trash in New York City. (I don’t have a reference and don’t intend to look one up since your entire postulation is based on conjecture and anecdotal evidence) I’ve given your idea plenty of thought, I suggest you do the same.

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