Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic take-out has not only been popular, but for restaurants and those not wanting to cook at home it has also been a necessity.
“When the pandemic first started we obviously didn’t have seating, so every single order was take away,” says Buzz Coffee House manager, Philip Baker.
With the increase in take-out has come an increase in waste. That’s why Jennifer Leslie started researching a more environmentally friendly alternative.
“The City of Victoria did a huge study around the landfill and found that there was literally millions and millions of take-out containers in the landfill,” says Leslie. “We looked at all those stats and thought what could we introduce into the system that would be a reusable product versus a recyclable product.”
So Leslie partnered with reusables.com, a Vancouver-based company already using metal containers and an app-based tracking system to cut down on single-use containers.
“They [the member] just basically signs up as a member on our app and then they phone the restaurant and say ‘pack my goods in reusables,'” says Leslie. “From there the individual takes the food home and enjoys it and then can return any of the containers to any of the pilot restaurants.”
The idea has been drawing rave reviews from both restaurants and members.
“All the people that have come in have been wonderful to chit-chat with, they really appreciate that we have the service,” says Baker. “Everyone’s been quite enthusiastic to get on board and just make a little bit of a difference here and there.”
With the Nanaimo pilot project winding down, Leslie hopes to bring the reusable containers to cities and towns across the Island.
“Next month we’re starting down in Tofino and then we’ll be coming down to Victoria,” says Leslie.
To learn more about the program visit the Reusables Vancouver Island website.