The pandemic has fueled a rise in takeout orders from restaurants. Ordering to-go is a great way to safely support your favorite local businesses during shutdowns, but the rise in single-use takeout containers is increasing pollution across the globe. A new startup, Dispatch Goods, aims to loop takeout into the circular economy with zero-waste to-go containers.
Started last year in San Francisco, Dispatch Goods started by partnering with tech companies and local businesses to form a circular relationship. Dispatch Goods provided the reusable metal containers, restaurants served food in them to participating offices, and employees left the containers in a designated drop off bin in their building for collection and reuse.
Now, the company is expanding and working with food delivery companies to provide their circular service to homes and apartments. In their pilot program with DoorDash and Square Pie Guys, a local pizza restaurant, customers simply select the reusable container option at checkout, pay a small fee, and leave the empty containers out for recollection by DoorDash once they’re done eating.
Founder Lindsey Hoell came up with the idea for the startup when visiting a beach in Hawaii littered with microplastics. She believes that the company can become profitable with just 1000 orders per month in any given San Francisco neighborhood. So far, participation rates in the pilot program are exceeding expectations.
Customers and chefs alike are loving the program not only because it reduces waste, but also because it presents food in a more appealing container. Compostable to-go containers are more expensive than washing a dish, so restaurants are lining up to join Dispatch Goods for the financial benefits too.
When it comes to circularity, implementing reusable practices in restaurants is highly effective because the predominant customer base is within a given small radius of any local restaurant. The close connection between restaurants and their customers makes it easy to bring circular practices into the community. We are excited to see Dispatch Goods expand their services to more cities and hopefully order pizza in a reusable box in the near future!
Image Source: Dispatch Goods