I am striving to be a practitioner of BYOC - the acronym I have coined for 'Bring your own container'. I don't like takeaway food- mainly because it creates a lot of trash. Depending on the food that you order, takeaways come packaged in an assortment of plastic containers, cardboard packaging and carry bags.
The joy of eating without having cooked is marred by this trash-trail. Agreed that packaging can be recycled but as we know, recycling is fraught with its own issues. The R to strive for is 'REDUCE'.
Apart from the green angle, getting food packed in plastics also has health implications. You don't know what all leach into food when hot food is put into plastic containers. So I like to carry my own containers. Be it for samosa-chutney, idli-sambar, doggy bag or sweets. What it needs, is a little forward planning. Now I have equipped both my cars with a host of things - an Anya kit, a cosmetics- medical kit, an under-the-weather kit, a shopping kit and recently a takeaway or eating out kit (spoons, forks and a couple of containers). What is missing from the last kit is a steel straw! Yes, you heard it right. I read about a lady who goes about carrying a steel straw and I am mightily impressed! She sure has taken BYOC to another level.
Given that packaging is getting costlier, vendors are passing on this cost to consumers. At many eating joints, you have to shell out a packaging charge. That is good news as it encourages people to BYOC. A few years back, when I carried my container to a sweet shop and asked for a discount in terms of saving them packaging cost, the guy was slightly taken aback. The manager was sent for and I gave my logic to him. He graciously accepted, more to humor me than for anything else. I asked him to make it a policy to give a discount to customers who BYOCed. He didn't feel the time had come for that idea. He would be gladly charging extra for his packaging now, I am sure.
Another idea for restaurants is to pack food in steel containers against a deposit. You return the container, you get your deposit back. The containers can be monogrammed for ease of use of both parties. This would ensure guilt-free takeaways for those who haven't carried their containers. I am planning to float this idea to a nearby eatery. I will surely update if it is implemented.