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Is Eco-Friendly Packaging Actually Better for the Environment? 

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Why reusables will become the new norm

Imagine: a world filled with less waste and a society that actively lives harmoniously with the planet towards a sustainable future. 

This is the world we’re actively building, starting here in Portland. But, in order to create a more sustainable future, it’s important to understand the complexities of all the various options of food ware that currently exist around us. 

From single-use, to compostables and reusables, there are so many options that can be overwhelming to understand for the conscious consumer. What exactly is the most eco-friendly option when it comes to ordering take-out? 

If you’ve followed GO Box for a while, it’s easy to know where we stand on the matter, but if you’re new here, welcome! We’ve done the research to show you just why reusables are overall more eco-friendly.

What is the impact of single-use and eco-friendly vs reusables? 

There’s a variety of options on the market right now, some that have been around for decades and some that are newer and claim to be more eco friendly.

The cups, boxes, cutlery, etc. that we’re used to seeing just about everywhere (concerts, sporting events, food trucks) are typically made of single-use materials and cannot be reused. In more recent years, this has slightly shifted towards manufacturers creating more sustainable options such as compostable or biodegradable products. 

Studies have shown that the life cycle of each type of to-go food ware directly impacts the environment from start to finish. Reusables surpass single-use and eco-friendly options on every environmental scale.

And we also hear a lot of questions around increased water utilization for reuse. That’s actually not the case! Implementing reusable programs actually takes much less water.

Why eco-friendly options might not be more eco-friendly

Speaking of “eco-friendly” options, let’s dive into one of the most popular on the market right now: compostables. While you might think you’re helping the environment by using a compostable box from your favorite food truck, we’ve learned that these items are almost as harmful as single-use plastic items. 

The idea behind compostable, plant-based products is great, however in most cities there aren’t proper ways to compost these items. This leads to more single-use waste and greenwashing. 

Compostable items also need to be properly processed in order for them to completely break down, which many cities have yet to implement. If these products are able to be composted, they could cause potential long term health issues as they’re made with certain chemicals, called PFAS, that help repel water and oil. 

These chemicals end up leaching through our soil which eventually cycles through our food systems! 

What can consumers do to combat these issues? 

Switch to reusables! Reusable to-go products save environmental resources and create a circular economy that benefits everyone. 

This could look like:

  1. Less trash polluting our waterways and streets and keeping our communities clean
  2. Reducing our individual and societal carbon footprint
  3. Supporting sustainable jobs that benefit the future of our planet
  4. Keeps our soil safe, making healthy communities a priority

Making small individual changes can lead to HUGE change! By shifting our daily habits and creating more awareness, we can all combat these issues together. 

If GO Box currently exists in or near your city, try our easy subscription service or encourage your favorite food truck or restaurant to commit to our ZERO program. If we’re not yet in your city or neighborhood, we suggest bringing your own reusables when eating out! 

Here at GO Box, we’re passionate about making reusables the new norm! We’ll continue to create mindfulness in our community that positively impacts the planet and we hope you join us!