Why Reuse Makes Sense

“Why are reusable containers better? What about compostable, recyclable, or biodegradable containers? Aren’t those just fine?”

We hear these questions all the time at BizeeBox. Our answer is simple: no matter how you look at it, reusable takeout containers make more sense than single-use containers.

Food takeout containers come in all shapes and sizes, but reusables are the way to go!

One BizeeBox container can be used up to 350 times, eliminating the need for as many disposable takeout containers.

Why is this, exactly? There are two main reasons:

First, every time a reusable takeout container is used, that’s one less single-use container manufactured for just one meal.

All takeout containers, even the ones BizeeBox uses, require resources and energy to manufacture and ship a long distance before they end up at a restaurant. But while single-use containers can only be used, well, a single time, BizeeBoxes can be used up to 350 times.

And that’s where the benefits come in. After they’ve been reused a certain number of times (we call this the “magic number”), reusable containers clearly beat the other options because of avoided manufacturing and transportation costs. When compared to polystyrene (a.k.a. StyrofoamTM), reusable takeout containers have a magic number between 24 and 30 uses; when compared to compostable containers, the magic number can be as low as 20.

Second, most single-use containers end up in the landfill no matter what they’re made from.

Recyclable plastic containers can be turned into something useful if they stay out of the landfill, but they don’t. In 2011, only about 13% of plastic containers and packaging were actually recycled in the U.S.

Compostable containers have a similar story. In 2011, less than 10% of municipal solid waste was recovered for composting. And compostable containers do not “compost” in landfill conditions. Instead, they behave more like regular trash.

Biodegradable takeout containers are meant to break down at the end of their lifecycles, causing no permanent damage to the environment. But they actually might do more harm than good because it turns out they release potent greenhouse gases when landfilled.

Reuse is the best option.

To us, the outcome is clear: cleaning an existing container locally is simply better than manufacturing a new one that will quickly end up in the waste stream or be broken down into something of less value. And that’s why we founded BizeeBox.

We know you have more questions, so we’ll go deeper on this in future posts. In the meantime, what do you think about reusable takeout containers? Do they make sense in your town or at your favorite restaurant? Leave a comment and let us know what is on your mind!

Small disclaimer:
We fully support recycling and composting. We are “those guys” digging recyclables and compostables out of trashcans and putting them in the proper bin. We also compost religiously (think of Phel annoying his roommates with mounds of vegetable scraps and chicken bones in the kitchen). But when it comes to takeout containers, we think that the best way to reduce waste is to promote reuse.

Posted in BizeeBanter
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  1. [...] at BizeeBox have a (un)healthy obsession with garbage, but it’s not just for environmental reasons. The economics of waste are also [...]

  2. […] other viable options exist. As we mentioned in a previous post, these options aren’t perfect from an environmental perspective. But they are a big improvement […]

  3. […] some restaurants already use biodegradable or recyclable boxes, the company argues that reuse is better than recycling in the long run. Grousset told Fast […]

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BizeeBanter: The BizeeBox Blog

Welcome to BizeeBanter, the official blog for BizeeBox. BizeeBox designs and implements innovative reusable takeout container programs that empower people and organizations to reduce disposable takeout container waste.

We’re out to prove that reducing takeout container waste is not only possible but also a smart thing to do. We use the BizeeBanter blog to tell you our story as it happens, keep you updated on the latest trends in takeout container reuse and waste reduction, and try to entertain you as you eat the food you recently ordered to-go from the nearest cafe or restaurant.