The simplest place to eat zero waste is at buffet settings at food co-ops or restaurants, however with proper preparation you can eat anywhere and produce little to no waste!
Step one is to take a look around at the other customers and see what types of waste you might encounter. Are there paper placemats? Do fries come in a basket with wax paper? Are sauces in little plastic cups? Step two is communicating with your server as politely as you can and with a big smile that you’d prefer not to have any disposable napkins, utensils, plates, or straws with your meal. Try saying something like, “I’m so sorry to make your job harder, but I have a weird request. I’m doing this zero waste challenge. Is there any way I could get my drink without a straw?”
If they bring you trash anyways – do not fret, and don’t be upset with your server! Zero waste is not about never going out and experiencing life because you don’t want to make mistakes, it’s about bringing awareness to everything we put energy into. Simply note the experience and learn from it for next time you eat out. Another great benefit of being zero waste when you’re eating out is showing your friends a concrete and simple action they can take to reduce their waste. Who knows, maybe a couple of them will even ask to get their drinks without a straw too!