The food industry is one of the largest producers of waste in the world, which is why certain franchises have opted for eliminating straws and using more eco-friendly packaging materials over the past several years. In fact, restaurants like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have even sold reusable cups that customers can purchase and fill up when they visit the coffee shops. In an effort to contribute to this movement, Burger King has decided to offer its own reusable packaging – but the system will look a bit different than anything we’ve seen before.
The fast food chain plans is partnering with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop to roll out reusable containers for sandwiches and drinks, but they won’t be for purchase like the ones at Starbucks and Dunkin’. Instead, customers will pay a small “rental fee” for the packaging, along with the cost of their meal, and upon returning the packaging, they will be refunded the fee. Once the sandwich and drink containers are returned to the store, they will be washed and reused.
Burger King plans to test the new system at locations in New York, Portland, and Tokyo in 2021 and then add other locations into the mix. However, many customers may have concerns about the program and how it will be impacted by COVID-19. To minimize risk, restaurants that sell reusable packaging are not allowing customers to use their own packaging anymore – for the time being, that is. But because Burger King will be washing the containers at the restaurants before serving them to the next customer, that risk is eliminated.
Tom Szaky, TerraCycle and Loop CEO stated, “During COVID, we have seen the environmental impact of increased takeaway ordering which makes this initiative by Burger King all the more important.” He continued, “This enables Burger King consumers to easily bring reusability into their daily lives, and whether they choose to eat-in or takeaway, they will be able to get some of their favorite food and drinks in a reusable container.”
What do you think of Burger King’s plans for reusable containers?