Top 5 Worst Single-Use Takeout Containers

#5 – Plastic tops with aluminum bottoms

 This one is the winner of “hardest to use” category – trying to put the lid back on is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Is it recyclable? Yes – well sort of. The plastic lid is recyclable, and the aluminum underneath has to be wiped clear of all Thai food or buttery remnants of unlimited breadsticks lunch. If you get stuck with these, please clean, dry, and blue bin it. Yes – blue bin is now a verb.

#4 – “Compostable”

Who likes to be lied to? Mislead? Show of hands?

Even if you have a backyard compost, these will not break down. Worms won’t eat them, and chances are, your compost pile won’t reach the necessary heat for these to break down. They must be sent to a commercial composting facility in order to break down. These are not recyclable, and you’ll probably end up tossing it in the trash.

Can you compost this container? Yes.

Will you compost this container? No.

#3 – Paper with plastic liners

This one just lies right to our face. What do you mean? It’s made of paper! I can recycle paper. Right?

Well, yes you can but take a closer look, honey… the inside is lined with plastic to keep the whole thing from falling apart at the seams. Recycle it? Nope. Toss this one in the trash. Hello, plastic. Hello, landfill

#2 – “Side of Ranch”

Personally – this one hurts the most. Green sauce, red sauce, and all the others: pico de gallo, ketchup, “a side of ranch”.

Aye – mi corazon 

Majority of these are thrown away despite being blue-bin-able. Usually it’s thrown in the middle of the burrito wrapper and tossed like the rest. Take the time to clean, dry and recycle these ones as well. No really… it takes 5 seconds and a splash of water.

#1 –  Polystyrene Foam (Styrofoam)

 The one that started it all… Public enemy #1. Cities, counties, states and even countries have begun to outlaw these because they NEVER bio-degrade. You cannot recycle them. What they do instead… is PHOTO-degrade. This means that all those little, tiny microplastics break into smaller and smaller bits but don’t go away. REFUSE these at all costs.

Honorable mentions:

  • Plastic straws
  • To go utensil kits
  • Ketchup packets
  • Plastic bags that house the above


What are your top 5 worst offenders? Share yours below