The Next Time You Order Takeout, Don't Skip This Important Step

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The Next Time You Order Takeout, Don't Forget ThisEdwin Tan - Getty Images

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Sheila Morovati believes in the power of individuals to make the world a better place — and change can start small, she says. In fact, it can be as easy as one click the next time you order takeout.

In her new book, Imperfect Environmentalist: How to Reduce Waste and Create Change for a Better Planet, the author shares this simple tip and many others in an effort to help us all reduce our plastic usage and live more sustainably.

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Making sure that box stays unchecked on sites like Seamless and GrubHub can make a difference. Hearst Owned

“When you order takeout, and it’s being delivered to your home, you don’t need the plastic fork-and-knife set. You already have real, reusable cutlery on hand,” she says. “You probably also have condiments like ketchup and soy sauce, so let the restaurant know you don’t need that stuff. Otherwise, it will all end up in the trash. It’s habits of waste like these — and how to change behaviors around them — that I focus on in the book.”

When it comes to single-use plastic utensils, many food-delivery apps are making it easier than ever to #CutOutCutlery. The option is now integrated into many of their platforms. Next time you order food online, look for a box on the checkout screen that allows you to opt out of receiving cutlery. If you don’t see that, you can give relevant instructions in the notes section. If you’re calling your local restaurant to order (yes, some people still do that!), you can just let them know you don’t need cutlery.

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Disposable plastic cutlery isn’t the first such product Sheila has targeted for change. “It started with crayons,” she says. “Then straws.” In addition to writing the book, Sheila is the founder of two international nonprofits, Crayon Collection and Habits of Waste, in which she works to leverage human behavior and social dynamics to create accessible and innovative climate solutions. Her work has been credited with diverting billions of pieces of single-use plastic from the waste stream.

You're in luck if you want to hear more from Sheila. She will be part of the Hearst Eco-Conscious Living Summit. She'll join our own Laurie Jennings, the GH Institute’s general manager, for a fireside chat about the power of individuals to bring about collective change one small step at a time.

About the 2024 Hearst Eco-Conscious Living Summit

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Join Hearst Magazines editors and industry leaders virtually on Friday, April 26, at noon ET for the second annual Hearst Eco-Conscious Living Summit. The two-hour event will address a variety of topics including the circular economy, regenerative farming, electrification, deforestation, sustainable design and more.

View the full agenda and join us for the free virtual summit at noon ET on Friday, April 26. No registration is necessary.

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