The lunchtime trip to the local cafe or takeaway shop is a ritual for many professionals of all collar colors. A nice diversion in the middle of the day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes and the lunch is actually eaten at the desk or on the road.
But our daily habits come at a price – both literally (Australians spend $8.3 billion per year on buying lunch) and metaphorically in terms of the impact our routines have on the environment. The majority of take-out plastic containers are in use for less than 30 minutes before they end up in landfill where they’ll continue to live forever.
The good news is that reducing single-use packaging might soon be a lot easier – thanks to initiatives like Melbourne-based startup Returnr.
A closed-loop reusable container network
“The idea behind Returnr is to completely get rid of single-use packaging,” says Founder and CEO, Jamie Forsyth, about the company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).
To achieve this Jamie is building a closed-loop network of cafes, restaurants, take-away stores, businesses and individuals that uncouples packaging and containers from the idea of ownership.
“One of the problems with owning a reusable container is that it’s so easy to forget at home or it hasn’t yet been cleaned to be able to use them again,” says Jamie. “This friction completely disappears if ownership is taken out of the equation.”