If you’re one of the ones who wash take-out containers and hope to reuse them as many times as possible before putting them in the recycling – this might be for you.
Reusables, a new Vancouver social enterprise, has created a model for restaurants to offer take-out with a washable, returnable container, and they’re looking for people to join their pilot program.
That’s right, no more cardboard throw-away boxes or plastic recyclable containers that are likely to wind up in the landfill.
You may have seen this model at work in other industries, such as mug-share programs which are the most common. However, no one has seemed to crack the code on the restaurant waste problem, which has exploded in recent times with the amount of take-out that is being offered due to COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Reusables’ Operations Lead, Anastasia Kiku, other organizations and cities are testing programs to battle the same issue, but there has been minimal introduction of these programs to date in Vancouver. The pilot program will run for 8 weeks and consists of 100 test users that will be able to purchase take-out from several participating restaurants in the Mount Pleasant area.
The pilot program will help the Reusables team to optimize the logistics of the program so that it can be an efficient substitute for single-use take-out containers.
The program works by supplying stainless steel containers to the restaurant, and when a participating customer selects the Reusables container, the container is tracked. The customer has two weeks to rinse and return the container to any participating restaurant or pickup location.
Kiku mentioned that a common question usually arises about cleanliness, particularly during pandemic concerns. However, there is no difference between these containers and eating at a restaurant. The containers are washed through commercial-grade dishwashers in the same way as any in-restaurant dishes.
Programs like this take a community effort to implement, and the Reusables team is looking for feedback and partnership on every level.
If you’d like to participate in the pilot program, visit Reusables.com. Applications will be open until March 1, 2021, when the pilot program begins.