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November 13, 2008 at 7:02 AM

Just say “no” to Styro to-go — and go buy a tiffin

Reader Nancy Harkrider, who’s spent many years living in Asia, must have taken one look at this photo on the blog earlier this week. . .

. . .before hitting her keyboard to e-mail the following, in which she denounces the use of Styrofoam (she’s not alone on that count) and declares her allegiance to a marvelous multi-tiered lunch-pail, the tiffin:

Says the other Nancy:

“I always enjoy the style and substance of your columns. [But] I am also increasingly concerned about the staggering environmental issues with containers for take out food. Billions of tons of Styrofoam and plastic go into landfills and clog the waterways. You could influence a lot of people to do it differently. We use cloth bags for all my shopping (nothing new there with the environmentally conscious). My husband and I went one step further and purchased a “tiffin” (the multi-tiered food containers). Ours is stainless steel with four compartments that stack neatly on top of each other and fit in the refrigerator when we get home. We always keep it in the car, ready for leftovers after a meal or for a take out. They can be had for under $30 at Asian groceries. Wouldn’t it be amazing if thousands of locals converted to this simple, elegant solution?”

Indeed it would Nancy, and thanks for suggesting it. I’ve long thought about purchasing a tiffin set (in fact, I was eyeing one recently at Uwajimaya), and you’ve convinced me that now’s the time. By the way: I’ll bet you’d appreciate this incredible tale of the “tiffin-wallahs” of Bombay — a story I first read a decade ago and still find fascinating today.

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