If you’re anything like me, the darkest depths of your cupboard house a motley crew of old plastic takeout containers jumbled into a heap, which you rarely use. And since you already have too many, you end up throwing away even more plastic containers whenever you get takeout. But now you don’t have to gift your plastic to the garbage gods every time you order from your favorite restaurant. Neighbors Allied For Good Growth (NAG) has just launched a free program for reusable takeout containers—funded by the GCEF and in partnership with Common Ground Compost. Jimmy’s (92 Calyer Street) and Anella (222 Franklin Street) are the first Greenpoint restaurants to participate.

The goal of this pilot program (officially starting tomorrow, December 8th) is to test the feasibility of a wider-ranging effort to reduce waste across the restaurant industry by incorporating more reusables. Folks are frequently ordering from the same restaurants, and end up throwing away one-time-use containers after every meal. This pilot gives repeat customers the opportunity to choose a reusable container option.

The customer will receive their food in reusable containers, and at their convenience, personally drop it off and receive a 10% off coupon. The containers will then be washed in Anella and Jimmy’s dishwashers (following Department of Health standards), and the zero waste cycle begins again. This is a great way for community members to engage in sustainable practices and directly reduce waste from takeout.

NAG is particularly excited about this pilot program because it ties in to this past Summer and Fall’s Reduce Reuse Recycle Greenpoint! program that worked to audit waste and get Greenpoint restaurants composting, again in partnership with Common Ground Compost (CGC). They found that most restaurants are eager to recycle and compost, but an outdated and unproductive commercial waste system lacks incentives for businesses to ethically dispose of waste. CGC examined nearly 3,605  pounds of waste from the 6 participating restaurants, and found that an average of 165 pounds of food scraps per restaurant is sent to landfills every day.  As participants sign on to start compost programs, the RRR project will have a direct effect on our overburdened waste stream.

Takeout containers produce unnecessary waste and use valuable resources, even if they are recycled. Reusable containers extend the life of materials and help reduce ecological footprints. To sign up, or for more information check out NAG’s website.

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