Full Cycle Takeout is working with 4 partner restaurants to demonstrate how reuse systems work, how the
y will save businesses money, and how restaurants can meet customer demands to do better for the planet.
OʻAHU, HAWAII – Full Cycle Takeout, a pilot program of the nonprofit Zero Waste Oʻahu, launched on the North Shore of Oʻahu this past Friday, July 24, 2021. The reusable takeout container program is operational in Haleʻiwa. The program aims to soon offer services throughout Oʻahu and to other interested communities in Hawaiʻi. Full Cycle Takeout is now available to use at 4 restaurants in Haleʻiwa: The Cosmic Kitchen, Haleʻiwa Joes, Rajanee Thai, and Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican. Full Cycle Takeout works by supplying participating restaurants with clean, sanitized reusable takeout containers. Customers register with Full Cycle Takeout (wwww.fullcycletakeouthawaii.org) and can then request their takeout meal to be packaged in reusables. After enjoying a waste-free meal in a reusable container, customers simply check back in their container at any of the 3 return stations in Haleʻiwa within 7 days.
“Our customers are really psyched for this program!” shared Michelle Maldonado, GM of Rajanee Thai. “Many of them have been influential in our journey and we were so excited to sign up for Full Cycle Takeout.”
With the onset of the new Disposable Foodware Ordinance 19-30 in the C&C of Honolulu, this program offers another solution for food vendors to be in compliance with the law while reducing disposable waste on our island.
“As long as customers return the containers, the program is currently free to use,” said Nicole Chatterson, Executive Director of Zero Waste Oʻahu. “Getting the containers back is important to us because the reuse of the containers is what creates the positive impact. Reuse means less single-use rubbish littering our islands and waste streams. It also means less frequent manufacturing and shipping of food packaging, and this translates into fewer emissions.”
While the program is free to use, customers will be charged $6.50 per unreturned container to incentivize return. Similar programs successfully operate around the world and have seen over a 95% rate of return for reusable cups and containers.
Safe and Sanitary
The Full Cycle Takeout team collects the containers daily to b
e washed and sanitized following Department of Health standards. The containers are cleaned using the same, trusted process that restaurants use to sanitize reusable utensils, cups, and dishware for dine-in customers.
Less rubbish, less litter, fewer emissions
With Oʻahu’s landfill set to close in less than 7 years, reducing rubbish is critical for our island. Not only do takeout containers fill our landfills and incinerator,
data from the Ocean Conservancy shows that single-use plastic rubbish from takeout and food packaging accounts for over ⅓ of debris on Hawaiʻi’s beaches. This packaging debris has even reached the shores of the protected Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Full Cycle Takeout addresses these issues by ensuring that containers are reused, instead of becoming rubbish or litter.
Restaurants, food trucks, and other foodservice operators spend between a few thousand to upwards of $60,000 each year on disposable foodware. Reusables offer an immediate opportunity for businesses to save. This is especially important as our local foodservice industry adjusts from Covid-19 related downturns and the increased demand (and cost) of takeout packaging.
“The program enables restaurants and their customers to continue enjoying the convenience of takeout dining without contributing to the impacts of producing, distributing, and disposing of disposable products,” said Jennifer Milholen, waste reduction expert and co-founder of the Full Cycle Takeout program.
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About Full Cycle Takeout
Full Cycle Takeout is a project of Zero Waste Oʻahu, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, in collaboration with Surfrider – Oʻahu Chapter and with the support of numerous community partners. The pilot launch of this program is supported through the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Marine Debris Prevention grant. Volunteers, and several community groups ( including Habitat for Humanity, Assets School, and the Waialua Hawaiian Civic Club) were instrumental to this program’s launch.
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