Our Reusable Packaging System

The only truly sustainable food container system is a circular one where containers are returned to the kitchen, washed, and reused. As long as the distance that the container travels is less than 1000 km, the total emissions from the lifecycle of reusable packaging are less than for single-use containers [1]. Unfortunately, even biodegradable food containers are unsustainable in the long run. Many businesses ignore this fact because it is simply too easy and profitable to switch to greenwashed biodegradable containers and count the issue as solved.

Reusable containers are generally sturdier than their single-use counterparts. The emissions generated in the production stage are higher for reusables, but these emissions are divided between the total number of uses. The total emissions from reusables are, in most cases, lower than single-use plastics, paper, or any other material. And this is including the emissions from transport for collection and washing.

Reduction of kg of CO2 depending on the number of cycles of reusable plastic shipping crates. [1]

Reusable containers make sense environmentally and they can also work economically. In India, large metal containers called Dabbas are used in food deliveries. The Dabbawalas (people who transport the containers) collect the Dabbas in the morning and deliver them to people for lunch. The containers are later collected and sent back for reuse. It is an incredibly efficient large-scale system that Truli aims to replicate.

Indian Dabbawala. [2]

The simple idea is that we deliver your food in regular pasta bowls with sturdy lids. These oven and microwave safe bowls give the food a home-cooked feel which we adore. You just need to reheat the meal, and after finishing, rinse the bowl and return it together with the lid to our van. We wash and sanitize the dishes and lids in our high-temperature dishwasher, using as few chemicals as possible, but making sure that the containers are safe for the next person. Then we pack the bowls with food again and they go for another round.

Our bowls which you return and we wash and reuse,

Some of you may be concerned about the plastic window on the lid. Ideally, we would have a lid without plastic. However, we wanted to launch our service as soon as possible, and this was the best solution that we found. We needed a lid that was sturdy and fit the chosen bowl perfectly. In the future, we will have a custom lid made without plastic. Luckily, the carbon savings appear even with the plastic lid, as discussed previously. We estimate that after 30 uses, our container causes fewer emissions than single-use plastic packaging. Plastic is not evil if it is used in moderation and in the correct circumstances.

Sources

[1] https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/zwe_reloop_report_reusable-vs-single-use-packaging-a-review-of-environmental-impact_en.pdf.pdf_v2.pdf

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/dabbawalas-food-delivery-system-mumbai-india-lunchbox-work-lunch-tiffin-dabbas-a7859701.html

About the author
Kaisa Lepajõe

Kaisa Lepajõe

Kaisa is the co-founder and CEO of Truli. She is a foodie and has tried her best over the years to live a zero-waste life. It's not always easy, and she is on a journey the same as you. She loves walking dogs, hiking in the woods, and knitting. Kaisa has a lot of side-hustles going at any one time. Currently, she is focusing most of her efforts on Truli, but she is also writing a book and learning to be a better chef.
Kaisa Lepajõe

Kaisa Lepajõe

Kaisa is the co-founder and CEO of Truli. She is a foodie and has tried her best over the years to live a zero-waste life. It's not always easy, and she is on a journey the same as you. She loves walking dogs, hiking in the woods, and knitting. Kaisa has a lot of side-hustles going at any one time. Currently, she is focusing most of her efforts on Truli, but she is also writing a book and learning to be a better chef.

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