Secondary education dining facilities around the country are switching from disposable polystyrene food containers (such as Styrofoamª clamshells) to a more cost-effective and sustainable program with Eco-Takeouts¨ reusable food containers. In these programs, university dining facilities and students work together to reduce waste and save money.
Steps to Implementing Eco-Takeouts¨ Reusable Food Containers:
- Choose a reusable to go containers accountability model
- Choose your Eco-Takeouts¨ reusable food containers
- Market and implement your new green to-go containers program
Choose a Reusable To Go Containers Accountability Model
Choosing an accountability model for any successful Eco-Takeouts¨ reusable food containers implementation is the most important part of your success. In our experience, not charging for the original container tends to lead to a failed implementation. Everyone must have a stake in the game, whether that person is the restaurant operator or the customer and end user.
Attach a fee to your Eco-Takeouts¨ reusable food containers program to initiate an accountability model when the program launches.
For example, let’s say the annual participation fee is $10.00 per container. The customer pays an initial $10.00 fee and receives the container on the spot. From that point, it’s the responsibility of the customer to exchange their used container for a clean, sanitized container.
How Do You Get the Customer to Return Eco-Takeouts¨ Reusable Take Out Containers?
This is where the importance of the green to go containers program accountability model comes into play. If a customer loses, damages, or wishes to keep their container, they’ll have to pay another $10.00 fee. This will happen any time a customer needs to replace their container, which holds them accountable and responsible for proper care.
This is how accountability is set and how the customer understands that the responsibility falls into their hands. In most cases, a customer will only pay the replacement fee once before they begin to accept the responsibility of the reusable take out containers.
How Do You Get Customers to Participate in a Green To Go Containers Program?
In many cases, offering only one type of participation is key to a successful implementation. If you’re switching from a disposable to a reusable container then you must remove all disposables. In other words, you need to fully commit.
Giving the customer an option between a disposable vs. a reusable can create confusion. To be successful, offer an Eco-Takeouts¨ reusable container as the only option for takeout and make participation mandatory.
As both an operational and a behavioral change, implementing an Eco-Takeouts¨ green to go containers program comes with some challenges. You may experience a little push back, but in the end, it’s financially and environmentally worth it.
One of the most successful ways to get customers on board is to educate them on the reason for the change. It could be that the property is going green or reducing their carbon footprint, or it could be that the property would rather invest more in higher quality food than disposable containers. Whatever the case may be for your establishment, tell your diners why their takeout options have changed.
For example, in 2015, New York City banned the use of foam products in all five boroughs. The Executive Director of the Lower East Side Ecology Center says
âStyrofoam products contribute an estimated 20,000 tons of waste to our waste stream in NYC schools. Alone over 830,000 foam lunch trays are used every day. In the school setting, this ban is a perfect opportunity to implement a shift away from single-use to durable items, eliminating wastefulness and teaching an important lesson to the next generation.â
To date, NYC is the largest city in the country to ban foam.
Choose Your Eco-Takeouts¨ Reusable Food Containers
- Standard to-go
- Three compartments
- One compartment
- Soup containers
- And much more
Please keep in mind, you can also easily customize your reusable to go containers with your university’s logo or school color.
Promote Your New Reusable Food Containers Program
Once your program is finalized, we recommend decorating dining areas with posters or whatever kind of signage is best for your establishment. Take your marketing outside the four walls with email blasts and volunteers around campus to educate diners and answer their questions.
The most successful implementations have included a countdown to the launch of the new green to go containers program. It’s an effective way to prepare people for a behavioral change. Your users will know what to expect and when, and it gives you the opportunity to continue talking to them during the transition.
Now that you know more about Eco-Takeout¨ reusable containers for take-out food, read up on the difference between disposable tableware vs melamine vs china for your dine-in needs!