Can You Order Takeout Waste Free in Toronto?
Updated: May 24
Today marks the start of the Victoria Day long weekend - whoooooo! For my husband and I, long weekends equate to cottage trips, a few nice bottles of wine and takeout food. What does that mean for my zero waste journey though? No more takeout food??
Luckily it doesn't!
Let's break this down into two situations: ordering takeout pre-pandemic and ordering takeout during the current pandemic.
Ordering Takeout Pre-Pandemic:
Before social distancing was put into place, you could get takeout food waste free by calling a restaurant ahead of time and asking if you could drop off your own containers for them to put your takeout food into. Most restaurants would accept this as long as your containers were sanitized properly and you were willing to do the drop off and pickup. Unfortunately, delivery isn't a waste free option in Toronto (yet!).
Here is a list of Toronto restaurants that would gladly accept BYOC (bring your own container) before the pandemic:
I highly recommend ordering from Apiecalypse Now! where you can get package free vegan donuts and dunkaroos.
Another amazing way to purchase waste free takeout food that hasn't quite hit the Toronto scene yet, is for restaurants to have a takeout container deposit system. It's a big investment up front for restaurants to purchase reusable containers instead of cheaper disposable ones, but if the demand is there than I believe this could really start to grow in Canada!
Farm'r was one of the first Toronto restaurants to offer takeout container deposits. For a $4 deposit you could get your food in a durable plastic container and bring it back the next day, clean or dirty, and get you full deposit back.
Ottawa's Curry Mobile has one of the best systems for waste free takeout delivery in Canada that I have come across so far. They deliver their homemade, locally sourced meals in tiffins, a stainless steel container, and then come back to pick up the dishes the next day! How awesome is that?
(Picture Taken from Curry Mobile)
Ordering Takeout During the Current COVID-19 Pandemic:
So now we talk about our current situation, where it is virtually impossible to order waste free takeout due to the current crisis we face.
This is where our morals come into place: do you go waste free and not support local restaurants or do you support local restaurants and create a bit more waste than usual? The decision I made for myself was the latter.
As someone who used to work in the restaurant industry, I think it's extremely important to support local restaurants in times like these.
So yes I order takeout once a week with my husband, but I only order from local Toronto restaurants and I go pick up the food myself. I have also been ordering a grocery style takeout box (good for 4-6 meals for 2 people) from a local restaurant once a month.
One of my favourite boxed options in Toronto right now is:
The Be Box from Mary Be Kitchen
- Always order local local local.
- Try not to support international fast food chains like McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut ect.
- Pick up your food from the restaurant so they don't lose money to delivery companies like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes.
- Ask for the restaurant to obtain from putting your food in a plastic bag with plastic cutlery and napkins.
- Tip the same as you would if you were eating in.
And lastly, enjoy your long weekend takeout food. Hopefully we can get back to zero waste takeout again soon!
Do you know about any waste free takeout programs in your community that sound cool? Let me know in the comments section below :)
Warm hugs and lovely wishes,