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Jimena Teran

The pilot kicks off in fourteen of the city´s leading eateries and aims to add at least 100 more by year’s end, curbing up to a million disposables.

Toronto, Ontario. February 13th, 2020 — Wisebox launched in Toronto on February 21st, 2020, as the city’s first reusable takeout container program, offering consumers a zero-waste option to disposable takeout boxes. According to the City’s 2018 Waste Audit, Toronto’s single-family households alone generate over 85 million units of styrofoam takeaway containers and cups annually.

Related: The Future Of Zero Waste Is Refillable Packaging

It’s is designed to fit seamlessly into every individual’s takeout routine. Participating restaurants are stocked with reusable Wiseboxes, which customers can rent for a $5 deposit. After enjoying their meal, customers will be able to return the boxes to any of the participating locations for a refund of their deposit. Wisebox also offers a loyalty program, with which members receive discounts of up to 15% off each meal ordered and taken out in the reusable containers.

The program is poised to reduce single-use containers in the city by more than one million units in 2020, saving businesses and the city’s waste management money along the way and helping achieve Canada’s commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Related: 5 Simple Principles For Plastic-Free Living

The Wisebox network of restaurants offers flexibility to consumers in the Downtown Toronto area. With the option to pick up takeout orders from one location, and return containers to another, the system makes waste reduction convenient for Torontonians on the go. As the program expands to more than 100 additional restaurants later this year, the convenience will expand exponentially.

A New Reusable Takeout Box Program Could Save Up To 1 Million DisposablesJimena Teran

With consumers increasingly aware of the environmental cost of their lifestyles, and frequently predicating shopping decisions on a desire to lower carbon footprints and waste generation, innovative solutions such as Wisebox are responding to consumer agency and market demand. The programme introduces Millenial-friendly sharing economy principles to the takeout industry.

According to Restaurants Canada, food delivery sales in the country rose between 49 and 54 percent in 2018, bolstered in part by the popularization of food delivery apps. With it, the number of single-use takeout containers going to waste has spiked. The restaurant industry has, until now, relied heavily on single-use items, often the easiest kind of packaging for off-premises orders.

Meanwhile, the inadequacy of recycling programs to provide solutions for this waste has been gradually exposed. According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, less than ten percent of Canada’s plastics actually get recycled, with most being incinerated or ending in landfills.

Founded by Erika Reyes, a former marketing professional, and Beth Szurpicki, a Community Development Practitioner, Wisebox was inspired by their wish to live a low-waste lifestyle and to help others do the same, instead of waiting for corporate accountability and government policy change. The Government of Canada has announced a ban on single-use plastics starting in 2021.

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What if we could live without compromising the environment? ⁠⠀ What if Toronto had only two bins for waste, organic and recycling, and we simply didn’t send anything to the landfill? ⁠⠀ What if everything we consumed returned to nature? ⁠⠀ ⁠.⁠⠀ Yes, I know it’s a pie in the sky, but we don’t have to do it all in one go. ⁠⠀ We can get there, one takeout at the time!!⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ ⁠.⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ @Wisebird has joined forces with fourteen of Toronto’s restaurants to cut down on waste with @Wisebox, Toronto's first reusable takeout container program that provides a waste-free option for takeout. Customers can rent a reusable container and, after enjoying their meal, return it to any participating location for a refund on their deposit… piece of cake!⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ We envision a world where sustainability is accessible to all!⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ #leadbyexample #lowimpactmovement #zerowaste #toronto #conquerfear #passion #ecolife #ourplanetourhome #usewhatyouhave #reducereuserecycle #mindfulwaste #ecolifestyle #greenliving #fortheplanet #yayforearth #zerowastecollective #goingzerowaste #zerowastelifestyle #zerowastehome #zerowastetoronto #wasteless #sustainable

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Restaurants participating in the pilot phase are spread across some of the city´s main foodie destination neighbourhoods: The Annex (Miya Bhai, Mugi), St. Lawrence/Cabbagetown (Farm’r, Gushi), Junction/Roncesvalles (Coffee and all that Jazz, Colombian Street Food, Tibet Cafe & Bar), Ossington/Liberty Village (Libertad Mexicana, Maizal Tortilleria), and a bigger cluster in the  Chinatown/Kensington Market area (Cafe Tibet Bar & Grill, Free Times Cafe, Karine’s, Pow Wow, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky), with the support of the local Business Improvement Area (KMBIA).

The Wisebox four-month pilot begins on February 21st and will be collecting insights from users and businesses, rolling out Phase 2 in June, with improvements according to consumer feedback.

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The Eco Hub is a digital media company where success is based on building relationships and empowering others to live more mindfully. It's a place for women (and men) to come learn, engage and be inspired to live well, by doing good.
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