Please. Turn back the bread.

Want to get me cranky? Over order in restaurant and leave a ton of perfectly good stuff on your plate to be chucked out. Oh, and then not see this as an issue.

A food wastage poster from World War 1.
A food wastage poster from World War 1.

I’m really rather myopic about food wastage. Just to drum it: The biggest pollution issue on the planet is food wastage (surpassing industry and car emissions). And the biggest contributors to food wastage? Consumers (not manufacturers or restaurants or farmers).

Just because I’m a little cranky today, I’m going to outline a few ways folk can do the right thing in this regard, and in regards to wastage in general. Mostly it’s about communicating – voicing up.

Say “no bread thank you” when you place your order if you tend to pick your poached eggs off your sourdough. Or “only one piece of bread”, if that’s your fancy.

Ditto, when the bread basket and oil arrives. Reject it before the waiter plonks it (if you’re not going to eat it). If you don’t, and you let it sit there while you eat, the waiter will have to chuck it when they clear your plates.

Order on the stingy side when doing little shared plates. Then add to it, rather than over-ordering.  Apply this to sides of rice etc as well. Repeat after me: “You can always order more”.

Now, this is a bit of a weird one…

Underorder if you’re out with an undereater. I do this with friends who leave stuff on their plates.  I flag it with them upfront. And offer to pay for theirs, too.

Buy one type of herb at a time. Eat all your coriander before buying your bunch of parsley. You’ll be amazed how multi-purposeful they are.

Don’t take more than one serviette from a dispenser. Unless you intend on keeping the extras for nose blowing/bushwalking toilet paper etc.

Insist on not getting issued a clean plate and cutlery in restaurants. Waiters will try to change plates between courses (if you’re eating from a share plate). Ask them not to.

Don’t send food back when an order is slightly wrong. Try to find another solution, like getting them to bring you an extra side of avocado, or whatever.

On planes, ask for no serviette/stirrer/milk etc before the hostess puts it down. Again, otherwise they have to chuck it when they clear your stuff later.

On planes, simply don’t have the onflight snack or drink. You don’t need it. If it’s a short flight, you’re not going to starve if you don’t eat one of their crappy cookies. Nor will you dehydrate if you don’t have that 250ml bottle of water. Astonishingly, everything that’s not consumed on flights is tossed, regardless of whether it’s been touched. However, I hope that if less people take the snacks, then less will be ordered in the future. I can only hope…

At hotels, actively request that your sheets and towels aren’t changed when you check in. Those “Help us save the environment, hang your towels if you won’t want them changed” signs are never heeded. Never. You need to actively put in a request.

Don’t open two packets of soap in hotels. Use the same one for the shower and the hand basin. And make sure you don’t disrupt the unused ones, so the cleaners don’t mistakingly think they’ve been tampered with. Better still, bring your own soap from home! I do.

I’d love you to add your own ideas to the list…and I’ll re-add them into this blog in a week or two. Get cranky with me!



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