A Calgary man has come up with a new solution to an environmental problems that’s been growing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s all about taking a bite out of all those food takeout containers going to the landfill.
John MacInnes is an eco-minded entrepreneur who started a reusable takeout container service called Earthware in November 2021.
The company charges customers and restaurants to become part of the program, which provides reusable containers to restaurants.
After picking up their food at the restaurant or having it delivered, customers can leave the used containers at the company’s drop-off boxes around Calgary or Earthware will pick up the containers from customers’ homes.
Launching a business during COVID-19 certainly brings risks, but Earthware is finding it’s turning out to be good timing.
“Takeout has increased significantly: volumes have just gone through the roof during the pandemic,” MacInnes said. “That’s a great opportunity for us.”
For many restaurants using the service, switching to reusable containers can bring financial benefits.
“The boxes that we put all the food in, it’s not cheap,” Grumans Delicatessen owner Peter Fraiberg said. “And not only that: where do all these boxes go?”
Dee Jelly was picking up lunch in a conventional disposable takeout container on Thursday when she learned about Earthware’s new service, which she feels is a good idea.
“There’s a lot of garbage that ends up happening after lots of takeout,” Jelly said.
Fraiberg said even though switching to reusable containers comes with a cost, it’s money well-spent.
“I would rather spend that money on recycling rather than watching them go into the garbage,” Fraiberg said.
About 30 Calgary restaurants are participating in the program, with Earthware hoping to expand to include much higher numbers.
“Stop the single-use containers from going into landfills,” MacInnes said. “Saving the planet, one container at a time.”
Jelly says she’s now considering switching to ordering takeout food using Earthware’s service.
“We want to save the planet, do good things for mother nature — she deserves it.”