Saying NO to take away containers and learning to take my own

take your own take away containers
Image from
My Monday to Friday lunch ritual starts on Sunday.

On Sunday I cook four lunches for days Monday through to Thursday. Usually the dish is roasted vegetables. This will be pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, zucchini and onion cooked in coconut oil with garlic (i love garlic) and either yeast flakes on top or turmeric. Simple, healthy and affordable. I occasionally snack on a mandarin before lunch. And the day time feast is completed with gulps and gulps of lovely water.

Growing up lunch was different; it was prepared for me. I received a Le Snack and three Arnotts biscuits for recess and a Vegemite and cheese sandwich (or lettuce and cheese) with a juice for lunch. This was my lunch from kindergarten to year 12.

Except on Fridays, there was no lunch made by my mother. This was the day I would be given money to buy something from the canteen. The usual was a cheese and bacon roll for recess. Lunch time I would have a sausage roll, chocolate Moove and packet of chips. 

To this day I never bring a packed lunch to work on a Friday. I still see the end of the week as my time for a treat. Yep, going out for a meal still feels like an occasion. Normally my work colleagues and I get a takeaway meal, come back to the office, and have a company communal lunch away from deadlines, emails, and phone calls.

take your own take away containers
Image from
My Friday takeaway has been etched into my life like some ritual. For the past 23 years I have stood in line, ummed and ahhed about what I want. But my well trod path came to a little bit of a hill with Plastic Free July. I stood in line at my usual local cafe, waiting to place my order when I realised that my take away container was plastic. Sure it was in a container that I could reuse and reuse, but how many can I take home. There are 52 Fridays a year. That is 52 containers. And how many had I already thrown away?! I took one look at the tall stack of containers ready to be filled for the days orders and wondered how many of these would be tossed into the garbage. I decided mine would not be.

So I left the line, went back to my office and got a container from the communal kitchen. I asked the staff at the cafe if they would put my order of food into my container and they did, without a second look.

I felt wonderful. It's funny how such a small change can make you feel powerful.

The following week I went to a different cafe with my same container and asked for them to put my lunch in there. I received a strange look like they wanted to ask me a question. And I was ready to tell them why. I have now done this for last four weeks.

I know there will be instances where I will be somewhere without my container. And when this happens I will need to get creative, think hard and remember that every piece of packaging (plastic, paper or aluminium) ends up somewhere.

Are you a fan of takeaway? Do you think you could implement the same change? And do you think cafes/restaurants and eateries should reward those who bring their own containers with a 10 cent discount?


  1. I rarely go out to eat, but when I do, I prefer to bring my own container. The problem is, since I so rarely go, I often forget my containers (I like to bring more than one, depending on where I go, as many places give entirely too much food ...and if it is takeaway, by all means there will be too much for one container).

    1. I have sometimes forgotten to and when that happens, I'll see if I can use a clean hanky from my handbag. It usually does the trick.


Hi, leave a comment