10 Tips for Eco-Friendlier Fast Food Dining

May 20th, 2008

Let’s face it, it’s the rare person who does not at some point end up in a fast food joint. As we’ve discussed here before, trying to eat healthy & organic while on the go can be a real dilemma.

The fact is, there truly is no Broccoli Heaven. So when you find yourself in a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King, or other fast food place off the interstate, don’t despair. Here are ten steps you can take to make your dining experience a wee bit more eco-friendly.


1. Bring your own cup.
2. If you didn’t bring your own cup, request a glass or regular cup — you know, the type that can be washed! Otherwise, odds are you’ll be given a plastic disposable cup or “kid cup.”
3. Remember that salad dressing will be brought to you in a plastic cup or pouch unless you request otherwise. You can skip the dressing, or ask for it to be poured directly on your salad. (You might want to ask for half the usual amount!)
4. They’ll bring too much stuff. Ask for just ONE condiment cup instead of TWO.
5. Go topless. Why use lids? Save the plastics!
6. Don’t take a “doggie bag” (often a Styrofoam container) unless you are really certain you will eat the leftovers. Do you really want all those extra calories anyway???
7. Tell your server that you don’t want a straw. No plastic straws!
8. Order vegetarian. Meat products are a significant contributor to global warming. Think pizza, fries, or a garden salad.
9. Bring your own napkins to avoid using paper napkins (keep cloth napkins in your car).
10. Don’t take more plastic cutlery than you need – you’re not setting the dinner table!

Works for me!

If it doesn’t work for you, talk to the manager. Customers have power!

Oh, and to answer my bloggy friends Gift of Green and Julie – with no Broccoli Heaven around, we went to Pizza Hut!

6 Responses to “10 Tips for Eco-Friendlier Fast Food Dining”

  1. MamaBird/SurelyYouNest on May 21, 2008 9:26 am

    If you can remember (like with reusable bags), bringing a tupperware type container with you solves the leftovers dilemma. Fake Plastic Fish tip. Kinda makes your pizza soggy, though, so be forewarned!

  2. Lady Why on May 21, 2008 9:51 am

    I find healthy things to eat are few and far between at fast food places. But, McDonald’s and some others are putting healthier salads, apples, and some other ‘better’ things on the menu so that makes it feel a little better to stop there.

    Overall, I try never to eat at one of those places. When we are on the go, I pack our food in the cooler and we eat our own food. More than just the healthy food aspect, I’m a bit of a germ phobic and I can’t stand the thought of how safely (or NOT!) the food was prepared. Some of those kitchens are really ickky!!!!

  3. Amy on May 21, 2008 11:56 am

    These are great tips. Although, I can’t remember the last time we were in a fast food type place! THAT was a hard habit to break! Keep up the great work!

    Thanks, Amy! — Lynn

  4. Nash on May 21, 2008 3:32 pm

    Great tips! I never use lids at McDonalds, etc. We try to avoid those places but there are times when its inevitable.

    I’m with you! Thanks for stopping by, Nash! — Lynn

  5. Anna (Green Talk) on May 23, 2008 4:15 pm

    With four kids and conflicting schedules, I can be at the fast food take out more than I want to admit. I try and take home as much as I can to reuse in some way. (plastic straws to mark bulbs, extra napkins to use, salad bowls for seedlings and to protect young plants when just planted, etc.)

    Thanks for the tips to remind me to do a better job when I “gasp” have to roll up to that drive through.

    Great tips from you too, Anna! And I’m SHOCKED, just SHOCKED! :) — Lynn

  6. RobRoy on November 7, 2008 5:58 am

    I have 2 kids and I almost never want to go out to eat anymore. I seems the only thing my 2 year old will eat his the fried crap with the carbs. I can’t get him to eat my cooking, but whenever there is garbage on the menu…he just loves that stuff all day long!

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