Reusable Containers Program is here!
Posted on December 9, 2021
Reduce, reuse and takeout!
In these hectic days of the year, many of us may find ourselves skipping meal planning and reaching for the phone to order some takeout. But does your takeout order come at an extra cost? We’re not talking about the meal itself, but the hidden environmental costs of purchasing and disposing of single-use items.
In Canada alone, we dispose of 57 million plastic straws per day and 15 billion plastic bags per year.
Restaurants have gradually integrated containers and cutlery made from a variety of divertible materials, including more compostable, bamboo or paper-based options. But what if there was an option to eliminate disposal entirely?
Cue reusable takeout container programs, which have started to pop-up across Canada. Customers of participating restaurants can choose a reusable container at check-out that will be returned, sanitized and used all over again rather than going to the city landfill or recycling facility.
Banff Isn’t Disposable (Banff, AB)
Banff Isn’t Disposable is a pilot reusable container program that was created in order to address a specific issue: how might we eliminate single-use items and plastics from the townsite? In a nutshell, BID is a community-led program that uses a deposit system for borrowing containers.
Customers can borrow a reusable container for $5, and get their full deposit back when they return their container. BID launched the program in June of 2021 with the help from the Banff municipality, community volunteers, and seven businesses who are committed to preserving the beautiful national park.
Now, at the end of the pilot, the numbers are clear – reuse works. Over 500 containers have been diverted from the waste stream and community members are excited about this shift! The next step for the program is to become a sustainable organization and to normalize reusable takeout.
Earthware (Calgary, AB)
Earthware is offering Calgarians the opportunity to use return-for-reuse takeout containers, and help reduce the over 60 million takeout containers. Here’s how the program works:
When members order through participating restaurants, they indicate they want their food packed into Earthware zero waste takeout containers.
When members have finished their meal, they scan a QR code on the container and then choose to drop them off into bins at locations around the city for free or can request a pick-up two times a month or the next day. The container will go on to be used again after it’s been commercially sanitized then sent back to the restaurants.
Earthware is looking to partner with new businesses and associations to create awareness of this program and find convenient drop off locations.
While we’re talking about reusable containers, here are some other Calgary businesses that offer bring-your-own container (BYOC) programs: