Take your container to lunch
Hi! I’m Gemma and I’m here to help you use your own container (we’ll name it your tub) for made to order on-the-go lunches!
Do you find yourself grabbing a sandwich, jacket potato, or even curry on the go? Whether it’s once or seven days a week, if you’re given your made to order on-the-go meal in a disposable container then this challenge is for you!
All we’re asking you to do is remember to take your own tub and use it instead of being dished up food in a disposable container, bag or wrap. I’m excited to take you on this journey!
Why should I use my own tub?
- You could save money! Just as some stores offer a discount for bringing your own cup, some stores offer discounts for bringing your own tub!
- In the UK on-the-go lunches produce almost 11 billion items of packaging a year – yikes, that’s a lot!
- The average person has two on-the-go lunches a week. Remember your tub twice a week for one year and you could save 104 single-use containers. If you eat out more often, you could save more containers!
What will I need?
A tub! This can be your normal lunchbox, a plastic takeaway tub, a metal or glass tub or tupperware. You don’t need to buy anything fancy, raid your cupboards and find something suitable. But here are a few considerations…
Make sure it’s big enough to fit a meal inside but isn’t too big it will be a nuisance inside your bag.
I use collapsible tubs as they fold away nicely.
If buying hot food, make sure your tub can stand the heat! Make sure it is microwave safe if you plan to reheat food.
It seems obvious but make sure you have a lid that seals fully, you don’t want juices leaking into your bag!
Accepting your tub
In our experience, most stores happily dish food into your own tub but on occasion, there is somewhere that won’t. Here are some reasons why and ways to overcome them…
It’s not always easy to determine the quantity of food to dish up, some places won’t be happy to dish up an ‘unknown’ amount and potentially give you more than you paid for.
Perhaps carry a couple of different size tubs to avoid over-portioning. Squash-able tubs are great as they pack down, making them easy to carry. Speak with the server/store manager to suggest they have a measuring device to avoid this issue for future customers.
It’s important tubs are clean and look hygienic. This is a top concern for stores.
Make sure tubs are washed and dried in advance. If your tub is well used, scratched and smelly it may be time to grab a new one!
If the store is super busy, using customers’ own tubs won’t be a high priority for most.
If you have the option to return at a quieter time or choose a quieter store then great. If not, make a mental note of busy times. How about popping back at a quieter time to say you’d really like to use your own tub and could they work out a way to do it in an easy and time-efficient way.
For stores still refusing to reuse why not have a polite conversation with the store manager? Explain the Ailuna challenge and ask if they’d consider reuse for the future. After all, it will save them money on packaging and could drive new custom. Point them in the direction of Refill where they can find out more about becoming a refill station!
Make the challenge work for you
If this is new to you then start with something easy and achievable. Using your tub for sandwiches, bagels, burgers and pastries is easier than worrying about portion sizes and liquid foods that make more mess.
Find places which are already happily accepting tubs for food. Search for a local refill/Bring Your Own schemes such as Refill (International) or BYO Containers (Australia).
There are a variety of hacks in the hack section, take a look and pick up ways to remember, care for and choose the right tub. Also, if you end up with single-use lunch packaging there is a hack section to help you deal with it.
Take it further
We’ll focus on just the tub for lunch but if you want to use it for snacks and dinner, please do!
Also, why not pack some cutlery and a napkin to avoid disposable ones.
Once you’ve completed the ‘Take your container to lunch’ challenge, how about giving the ‘Enjoy a homemade lunch!