For years, one of my pet peeves has been the incredible amount of waste that occurs in the packaging of food, especially take-out food from restaurants. Here is my idea for eliminating much of this waste. This idea could be implemented on any scale -- by a university, a small town, a county, a state, or a whole country.
The idea is not completely original, of course. I remember when I
When I was a child, we would sometimes buy a pie from Marie Callendar's. We would pay a small deposit for the pie pan, and later we would return the pan and get our deposit back. Great idea, right? We enjoyed serving the pie more because it was in a sturdy pan instead of flimsy tinfoil, and there was no waste.
So, why not extend this concept from pies to all kinds of food? This idea could reduce the incredible amount of waste that occurs in the packaging of food, especially take-out food from restaurants. It could be implemented on any scale -- by a university, a small town, a county, a state, or a whole country. If you like this idea, please take it and run. I'd love to see it implemented, even if someone else makes money from it!
So, here's how the idea could be implemented:
First, design a set of standardized food containers. The containers should be designed to handle a wide variety of foods, from pizza to soup, hot or cold. They should be durable, leakproof, stackable, aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean. In addition to standardized containers, there would be plates, forks, chopsticks, etc.
Participating restaurants would keep a supply of these containers for use whenever a customer orders food to go or requests a "doggie bag" for leftovers. Some restaurants (namely, those that currently serve food using disposable plates and plastic forks) would also use the supplied plates and utensils to serve food for consumption on the premises.
At regular intervals, the service would remove the dirty containers from each participating restaurant, and deliver a fresh supply. The containers would be cleaned at a central location for reuse.
One of the key features of this plan is that customers can return the containers to any participating restaurant or supermarket to recover their deposit money.
This idea could even be applied to things like cloth shopping bags! Whatever.
Who would benefit from this plan?
Everyone would benefit. Consumers would benefit by receiving food in containers that are aesthetically pleasing and do not leak. Restaurants would benefit because they will be able to provide a quality dining experience without the need to do dishes. The environment would benefit by the elimination of waste.