Innovation That Matters

reCircle is making sustainable packaging for fast food takeaways | Photo source wwf

A circular model for takeaway lunches


A Swiss startup has developed a circular model that provides reusable containers to takeaway restaurants

Spotted: Plastic fast-food packaging is a scourge. In the UK alone, it is estimated that consumers generate 11 billion items of food packaging waste per year – and that’s just from takeaway lunches. And most of that is non-recyclable. Swiss startup reCircle wants to eliminate this mountain of takeaway waste by changing people’s habits. They have developed a circular system that allows customers to purchase their takeaway food in reusable containers.

ReCircle sells reusable containers to partner restaurants, who pay a fee for membership. The restaurants, in turn, sell the containers to customers with their food. Customers can then trade the empty boxes for filled ones on their next visit, or return the boxes and get their money back. There are currently around 1,200 participating locations in Switzerland. The containers are aubergine-coloured, but can also be customised with company colours and logos.

All of the reCircle containers are made from glass fibre reinforced polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), and cup and container lids are made from Polypropylene. ReCircle does not use silicone, which can cause problems when washing. All of the containers are leakproof, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and stackable, and they are available in several sizes. When the containers have reached the end of their life, they are sent back to reCircle, which recycles them to create new containers. According to the company, in addition to resulting in less waste, the containers also encourage customer loyalty.

In these times of high prices, reducing costs and waste is fast becoming an imperative for individuals as well as businesses. At Springwise, we have .seen circular models for packaging being incorporated in different ways, including recyclable bottles and edible packaging made from kelp. And reCircle has recently launched a reusable pizza box. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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