Offering takeaway meals at colleges, universities, businesses, and industrial sites is a familiar practice because being able to eat on the go is an attractive option for busy students and professionals alike. However, disposable to-go food containers commonly used for carryout meals can create a lot of unnecessary waste and cost for your foodservice operation.
Eco-Takeouts® reusable to-go containers are an excellent solution for institutions that would like to switch from disposable containers to reusable ones.
Pioneered by G.E.T. nearly a decade ago, Eco-Takeouts® to-go containers offered high-volume foodservice operators a reusable takeout meal option for the first time, and it’s been well received ever since.
Let’s take a closer look at what these containers are and explore some ways they can benefit your foodservice operation.
What Are Eco-Takeouts® Reusable To-Go Containers?
Simply put, they are to-go food containers specifically designed for reuse, as opposed to disposable food containers that are thrown away after being used once. But there’s a lot more to love about Eco-Takeouts® to-go containers than just their ability to reduce waste.
- Made with recyclable plastic #5
- Commercial dishwasher safe
- Microwave-safe for reheating food
- Break-resistant and leak-resistant
- 100% BPA-free non-toxic
- Available in a variety of shapes and custom colors
- Can be branded with a customized logo or design
These traits benefit foodservice operators in several different areas of their business.
Because these containers are recyclable, BPA-free non-toxic, and they reduce waste, you can position your to-go food program as both an environmentally friendly and a clean/healthy way for diners to eat on the go. Break- and leak-resistance, along with microwave-safe reheating capabilities add an extra layer of convenience for your users as well.
You can increase your brand presence if you choose to add a custom color, logo, or design to your Eco-Takeouts® reusable containers. There’s extra cost and fulfillment time involved if customized branding is an attractive option for you. Our article “Customization Options for Eco-Takeouts® Reusable To-Go Containers” will spell out what those options look like in more detail if you’re interested.
Operationally, switching from disposable to reusable to-go containers has a minimal impact on your logistics. Eco-Takeouts® reusable containers are dishwasher safe, and we’ve found that most high-volume kitchens already have a dishwasher. If that’s the case for your operation, then you get to reap the benefits of significantly reducing your trash costs while using equipment and labor costs you already have in place.
With Eco-Takeouts®, you only need to keep a fraction of the containers on-hand compared to the amount required for single-use containers. This means that you get to save on storage costs. We’ve heard from customers who have rented out extra storage space to accommodate the high volume of disposable to-go food containers needed to support their operation. With Eco-Takeouts®, you very well may be able to eliminate that extra expense.
Eco-Takeouts® reusable containers are microwave-safe for reheating only. They’re not designed to cook or thaw food, and can warp if they’re exposed to high temperatures. We recommend reheating in 1-minute intervals for optimal service life.
How Does a Reusable Program Work?
Three simple steps:
The idea is once your diners have their containers, they’ll take them to the dining hall, fill them up with food, and go on their way. The next time they’d like to take food to go, diners return their used containers (properly cared for and maintained) and exchange them for a clean one. This creates a closed loop cycle that’s easy for your diners to understand and for your employees to execute.
We’ve seen some institutions build in an accountability model to encourage users of Eco-Takeouts® to-go containers to keep track of and care for their containers. This typically includes charging for the first container at a price set by the foodservice operator. If a diner loses or damages their container, they usually have to pay to receive a replacement. Including this model is completely up to you, but we have seen it be an effective way to minimize replacement rates, which are typically 10%-20% annually.
Every Operation can Benefit from Eco-Takeouts® Reusable Food Containers
We've seen some institutions that want to encourage a sense of community through eating together in common dining areas, so they don't offer meals to go. Alternately, folks with busy schedules or a light diet may want to save some of their meal for later. Eco-Takeouts® allow you to provide that option to your guests. If your foodservice operation doesn't include a to-go option, then you may be leaving your customers unsatisfied.
This information should serve you well as you research potential ways to cut down on using disposable takeaway food containers. To learn more about how to implement an Eco-Takeouts® reusable to-go container, you can set yourself up for success with “The Best Way to Implement Eco-Takeouts® Reusable Food Containers.”