Equity in Reuse

No Deposits!  No Membership Fee!  No Takeout Waste! 

Win!   Win!  Win!

The rapid increase in takeout during the pandemic has made zero waste initiatives even more timely and important. Reusables are at the forefront of reducing takeout waste at its source, and shifting consumers towards more sustainable habits. This shift requires us to start viewing packaging as an asset to be managed, not disposed of.

At Recirclable, we believe sustainability and inclusivity must go hand-in-hand. We must avoid equity barriers to entry, both for consumers and restaurants, as we build these systems. Reuse should not be an elite model, it should be THE ONLY MODEL.

What does that mean at Recirclable? 

For consumers, that means no deposits and no membership fees: customers are taking on the responsibility of returning containers, and that should be their primary “investment”: their time. Customers should only pay when they don’t return containers, as that reduces the reuse lifetime of a container, and requires more be purchased to sustain reuse.

For restaurants, we feel similarly: restaurants adopting sustainable practices should not be penalized. Our goal is to keep reusable container usage costs at or below what restaurants would pay for similar options with (perceived) environmental benefits (see this article to understand why compostables aren’t the solution they are marketed to be…). 

Charging restaurants or consumers excessive fees has at least three negative consequences:

For some motivation towards reuse, let's remember the magnitude of the waste problem: According to the EPA, the US generates nearly 300 million tons of municipal waste per year, about 5 pounds per person per day. Less than 25% is recycled: about 69 million tons, or 1 pound per person per day. 

Restaurant takeout is a significant contributor towards single use waste: 71% of Americans order takeout 1-3 times a week, but less than half can correctly identify which types of containers can be recycled1. Many, including black plastic and styrofoam, can not be recycled. This results in hundreds of billions of single-use waste products2. 

It’s time to shift mindsets from recyclable to Recirclable, for everyone! We are committed to the Reuse Economy. Won’t you join us in this commitment?

1. https://oceanconservancy.org/news/35-years-international-coastal-cleanup-data-demonstrate-recyclability-crisis/