Yes. By eating in, you are completely controlling what is for breakfast/lunch/dinner and which ingredients are in your meal. Local, organic, and fair trade are always smart choices when it comes to purchasing food. Also, by staying in you are avoiding an extra trip by car, reducing your carbon footprint, and most likely saving money.
I would say that for the most part it is. It’s good to support local restaurants that are eco-friendly, but usually eating out is worse for the environment. When you cook at home you can control what ingredients go into your food and make sure they are organic or local. There is none of the paper or plastic waste that comes with eating at fast food places or ordering takeout, not to mention the gas you might use to get to the restaurant. If you do get takeout, try bringing your own containers and utensils; there are many different kinds of reusable containers, cutlery, and even straws available.
Food storage and preparation is one of the primary ways that our food system uses energy. So when eating in, its still important to think about how you are preparing the food and how much energy it is consuming, per person.
It really depends on the restaurant and how you are preparing food at home. If you walk or bike to a restaurant that uses local, organic, and fair-trade ingredients, then it actually might be more eco-friendly to eat at that restaurant. The cooking and grilling appliances are already heated for other customers, and they may even cook your food alongside someone else’s thus minimizing any extra energy consumption. When buying food from grocery stores, foods are often packaged with plastics and styrofoam that can’t be recycled.
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