On Sunday morning, my husband and I went on a big cycle ride around the river, and stopped at a cafe we’d never been to before for coffee and a snack. We ordered savoury muffins (I am currently a little obsessed with savoury muffins) and they were brought out to us, all toasted and delicious… with two plastic-packaged portions of butter on the side of the plate.
How I hate those individual butter portions! So fiddly, so unnecessary, and such a waste! Some barely contain more than a teaspoon of butter!
Normally, I send the butter portions straight back. (I figure if I do that, at least they can be re-used. If I leave them untouched on the plate, when everything gets cleared away they will probably end up in the bin.) The issue with this, and I’m sure most people will agree, is that anything toasted tastes far better smothered in buttery goodness.
When I handed the butter back, I did something completely un-groundbreaking.
I asked the waiter if I could have some butter cut from the block in the kitchen rather than the individually-wrapped butter portions.
Here’s the result:
It got me thinking. Sometimes there’s no need to get indignant. There’s no need to lament, or to start a petition, or to rally the troops, or organise a boycott. There’s no need to get frustrated, or to wish things were different.
The only thing we need to do is ask the question – can this be done a different way? Surprisingly enough, often it can!
(Of course there are times when asking gets you nowhere, and then all of the above apply! – But the first step should always be to ask the question).
Most people aren’t deliberately trying to create as much waste as they possibly can (even though sometimes it might seem like it). It’s just that they’ve never really thought about it. They’ve never thought about the consequences, the impacts, or the fact that there might be a different (and better) way.
What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody says no. It’s really not that bad!
Simple Questions to Ask to Reduce Your Waste
There’s no need to just accept things are the way they are! Starting the conversation is a great way to tell the world that there is another way. we can make others realise that waste is a problem, but it’s a problem with plenty of solutions.
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Ask your local deli / butcher / takeaway if you can bring your own containers
- Ask of you can put multiple products in the same container (if appropriate)
- Ask for no straw
- Ask for your coffee in a proper cup (even if they say they’re serving takeaway only, they will probably make an exception if you ask)
- Ask for a glass for water rather than a disposable plastic cup
- Ask to use your own plate at a takeaway food stand
Just give it a go! There’s no need to cause a fuss, or get angry or grumpy if the answer is no. There’s no need to feel nervous. Remember, the answer could just as easily be yes!
Now I want to hear from you! Have you ever had any great wins just because you asked the question? Have you ever had any dismal failures…and what did you do afterwards?! Do you have any tips for reducing waste when out and about? Any other ideas you’d like to add? Please leave a comment and tell me your experiences below!