Sorry, I only eat food on plates.

It’s Saturday night, myself and three friends make our way to Indian Roti Kitchen near Cambie and Broadway for a delicious feast. We’re hungry, and roti, essentially curries wrapped in flatbread (some describe it as an Indian burrito), is exactly what we’re craving.

Indian Roti Kitchen 1
Indian Roti Kitchen’s quaint yet charming interior.

We stroll in and take our place at the window table, before the hostess can even seat us. We have already opened the menu, when the hostess makes a startling announcement: “Past 9 P.M., we only do take-out!”

I frantically check my watch. 9:20 in the P.M. Immediately a sense of defeat overcomes me. My stomach chemistry changes for the worst. I look up. My friends don’t seem to realize what the hostess’ message means. “It’s Plastic-Free July,” I soberly inform them, “I can’t do take-out.”

Our collective sense of disappointment is palpable.

Since my friends are kind enough not to leave me behind and order without me, we’re all in the same boat. We inquire about what containers the take-out comes in. They’re recyclable aluminum, not plastic, so technically permissible, but anything single-use violates the spirit of Plastic-Free July. Can we buy reusable plates from a local supermarket or thrift store? Brilliant, yet even more absurd! If only we’d brought tupperwares in anticipation of this problem!

As we solemnly get up to leave, urgently googling local restaurants willing to feed us on plates, a customer waiting for his food struck us with a comment that perhaps made the whole endeavour worthwhile.

“Wow, I am so inspired that you guys aren’t eating because of the waste. I’m going to do Plastic-Free August!”

We engage with this man for a few more minutes, learning that he is a vegan primarily for environmental reasons, but continues to struggle avoiding wasteful products in a plastic saturated world. He even agrees to read my blog!

While our stomachs part with the restaurant unsatisfied, we are all in a good mood. We are proud of our discipline and the positive impact we made on a stranger. Half an hour later, we arrive at Foundation, and all is well.

-Blog post by George Radner, Common Energy External Team