Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2021

Food and packaging containers together account for almost 45 percent of landfill materials in the US. A large part of that waste comes from takeout orders, where single-use plastic packaging has been normalized.

A new delivery service in New York City, called DeliverZero, wants to change that by packaging takeout food in reusable clamshells. Next time you order takeout from the platform, you can hand over those containers to the delivery driver and they’ll be returned to a participating restaurant, washed, and reused again.

DeliverZero’s service works similarly to other third party delivery platforms: You go to the website, enter your address, and place your order. But when the restaurant receives your order, it will pack your food in reusable containers, and use delivery drivers who know to accept those empty containers back.

“Everything we do is designed to give the customer and the restaurant the same kind of feel that they’re used to, with this environmental twist,” says co-founder Adam Farbiarz.

Customers can also return the containers — which can be reused up to 1,000 times — by dropping them off at any participating restaurants. Customers have six weeks to return them after they’ve placed their order. If they don’t they’ll be charged $3.25 plus tax for each container they keep.

Currently, the service has more than 100 partnering restaurants, up from five when it first launched in November 2019, and Farbiarz says they’re adding about five to ten new restaurants every week. The service is planning to expand to Amsterdam this winter and then to Chicago.

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