DIY Projects

Alternatives to Styrofoam Boxes

My Journey to finding alternatives for food containers

stainless steel bento box alternative

Recently, I bought myself a Bento box made of stainless steel as one of the alternatives to styrofoam boxes. My intention was to bring it with me to cut down on styrofoam or disposable containers. I also purchased a little pouch for my previously purchased steel straw and my own utensils from home. It was frustrating at first because my habits were extremely hard to break. Getting myself to remember to bring it with me was hard with my erratic lifestyle. I realized that being conscious of my actions was the hardest part. Here are the steps I took to finally get myself to use it. But these were the problems I faced…honestly.

Steps:

First, I would tell myself that I would remember to bring it when I went out. This didn’t work because I didn’t always know when I would be eating at a restaurant. Then a couple weeks of me scolding myself for forgetting to take it with me passed by.

Second, I said I would leave it in the car just in case. So I would go with family and friends to go eat and walk away from my car and halfway to the restaurant I would realize that I forgot my bento box with me (what an idiot)! The worst part was when I remembered and I didn’t want to go back because I was being too lazy (the force is strong with this bad habit).

Third, I used it but left it in the car and forgot to take it out to wash because I do that sometimes. I’ve gotten better with all of that but now I’m trying to have 2 containers in the car.

Fourth, the bento box I bought although it looks cool was way too small to fit food sometimes because a typical “American” portions are very large. I ended up using my Tupperware at home.

So, obviously, nobody is perfect and it’s still a work in progress but I can say that my plastic consumption has definitely decreased.

What I learned:

  • Keep your container close by so that it’s easy to grab.alternatives to styrofoam and reusable container
  • Have an extra clean one in case life gets hectic and you forget to wash.
  • Don’t go out and buy some fancy bento box like I did, just use one you previously got from restaurants if you kept them or use Tupperware you already have (Save yourself the money and don’t overthink it like I did).
  • When the server asks if you want it to go, don’t be afraid to ask if they can put it in your container and tell them napkins only (they will pack what they normally do which is plastic utensils, straws, plastic bags, sauce containers and etc.)
  • Try as much as possible to eat at the restaurant instead, because a lot of restaurants (there are exceptions) have plates and spoons that aren’t typically disposable.

Conclusion

It has been a real learning process for me and there have been a lot of trial and errors. It’s not easy to break a habit and sometimes it can feel weird to be the only one using alternatives, but retraining my brain to do something beneficial for myself and the planet has been rewarding. I have to remember not to be so hard on myself when I don’t get it right away and be positive.