- I eat out MAYBE once a month. And it's an organic restaurant!
- we eat out about once a fortnight
- Eating out is for special occasions, with the once in a while take-out when too busy to cook. Seattle has a fabulous vegan restaurant Cafe Flora!
Everyone who answered the survey cooked at home for the majority of the week (at least 4 days out of 7).
Most people ate at home every day of the week.
Since most participants are "greenies", I wasn't really surprised by the results. After all, cooking at home is very Eco-friendly. Why? Here are some reasons:
- When we cook, we can control the method of cooking and choose energy-efficient ways to prepare a meal. These would include things like counter-top appliances and using the residual heat of an oven instead of cooking for the full, recommended time.
- Most of us use "real" plates and utensils at our table. Restaurants, especially fast food establishments, often serve in single-use, plastic containers. Even up-scale restaurants use plastic or Styrofoam containers to send food home.
Even if we take the leftovers, there's a good chance that the food will be wasted.
- Some establishments are serving fresh, local products ... they are the exception. When we choose ingredients, we can be sure that we are buying local, sustainable foods.
- Did you know that, to meet FDA sanitation guidelines, restaurants use either bleach or ammonia (quaternary sanitizers) in their washing procedures? Both products are hard on the environment. At home, Eco-friendly detergent works just fine!
- Have you ever noticed how you feel after eating in a restaurant? Eating establishments are in the business of making our food taste good. They are not, necessarily, trying to provide healthy food. Generous amounts of fat, sodium, dairy, etc. are included to give us that "over the top" experience. So, while this is not an environmental reason to cook at home, it is a health reason ... foods cooked at home are better for us!
Eating out, once in awhile, is a treat. We can make the experience more Eco-friendly by walking to the restaurant, choosing establishments which cook local foods in appropriate amounts, etc.
In the end, even the most Eco-conscious establishment is no match for a meal made in a "green" kitchen at home.