I was once waiting for a colleague to pick me up at a location opposite a well known drive through coffee business. During the 15 minute wait I was astonished to see the volume of traffic that snaked through the carpark into the drive-through lane and back out onto the street. The cars numbered in the dozens in this short timeframe. The sight actually left me feeling a sense of despair. It made me wonder about the lives of people who don’t have time for a cuppa before leaving the house. And if there wasn’t time to make a coffee it’s unlikely they would have made their own lunch. Another takeaway purchase would therefore probably be required later in the day. A big issue with this is the cost! A friend once told me that she saved $50 per week when she started taking her own lunch to work and stopped buying coffees.
Most would agree that the more we work the more we spend. I wrote about this recently in my post on the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle. Takeaways are one of the hidden costs of being in the paid workforce. They are often a consequence of a hectic pace of life. And the cost of takeaways is environmental as well as financial. Where do all of those disposable coffee cups, takeaway containers and packaging, straws, bottles, and cans end up? Whilst some will be recycled, much of it ends up in landfill and waterways.
One of my (many!) eccentricities is taking a plastic bag with me when I walk. My 6.7 km route crosses 3 creeks and passes 3 ponds where ducks & other water birds and the occasional turtle can be seen. The thought of discarded rubbish choking these waterways and the life in them is just so distressing. So I fill up my plastic bag with the detritus of a takeaway, throwaway culture, and keep my patch as pristine as I can. Any plastic bags I find on the way get tied to a post for next time. Occasionally, I’ll pass another walker who thanks me for picking up rubbish. I always invite them to look for my spare plastic bags along the way and join me in cleaning up. Alas, my spare bags are always there when I need an extra one…..
Wouldn’t it be terrific if everyone disposed of their rubbish thoughtfully. But it would be even better if we bought less takeaway in the first place. There will always be those days or nights when there is little in the fridge, we didn’t get to do the groceries as planned, we are a bit tired, or we simply feel like a takeaway treat. Committing to never buying takeaway is a pretty lofty aim. But can you commit to one or more of these actions, one or more days a week, to save money and help the environment?
Your pocket and the environment will thank you. Do leave a comment and share other ideas you have for challenging our takeaway culture.