I know you get a lot of questions about recycling foam/polystyrene.  My question is about how to avoid using it in the first place.

Although some of my very favorite places in town use it, I want to support local restaurants that do not use any foam or polystyrene.  Does anyone publish a list of them?

And what’s with the ubiquity of foam/polystyrene anyway?  Is it really that cost-effective for restaurants?

Thanks for any information you can provide.  I appreciate what you do!



Avoiding using just about anything is pretty simple: Just don’t use it!

One of my favorite green living tips is to bring your own reusable to-go container. If you are eating out and you think you’ll have leftovers, bring a kitchen storage container or fold up a piece of foil in your wallet. If you forget and you’re at a restaurant that uses polystyrene containers, ask for a piece of foil (that you can rinse/reuse and recycle later) instead.

One of Indianapolis’ prized eateries (perhaps one of your favorite places?), Yats, is a great example of a restaurant making great food, but horrible food service decisions by serving all food, not just carry-out, on foam with plastic utensils. Frankly, I think it’s shameful. I went there a few weeks ago to watch a friends band perform and, despite the delicious smells, I opted not to eat because of all the wastefulness.

To answer your question, yes, foam is cheaper. But the real cost of polystyrene comes to our health and our environment.

At the risk of making “the coasts” sound better than the Midwest in terms of being green, San Francisco has a Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance. And New York lawmakers are considering a plan to ban plastic foam food containers (and Indiana is even mentioned in the article!).

I say, “Dan for City Council!” Your campaign web site can offer a list of restaurants that don’t use any foam or polystyrene.

Piece out,


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  • CGK

    About Yats – They’ll happily serve your food in your container if you bring it in. That’s how I assuage my guilt about eating there!

  • kvg

    That is good to know, CGK. I will try that. After trying the new Columbus, IN restaurant once, I opted not to frequent YATS again because of the the sytrofoam. Also, Columbus has a great local, pizza place called Zwanzigs that serves great pizza and micro brewery beer, but serves all on styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. Ugh! I will carry out the pizza but have opted not to eat there.

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