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  • Writer's pictureNanushka Santiago

Reuse Initiatives: Better for the Long Haul Toward Sustainability

A recent global Brand Audit Report by The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement revealed a startling fact:

18 of the 20 most common items found in waste streams were related to food packaging, including beverage bottles, food wrappers, and food containers.

This underscores the critical need to shift towards reusable service ware and packaging to combat plastic pollution and embrace a circular economy.

In the wake of rising environmental concerns, sustainable practices in business operations have become more than a trend; they are a necessity. The importance of materials procurement, packaging, and local sourcing cannot be overstated among these practices.

The Reuse Denver Program: A Case Study in Sustainability

As alarming as it may be, initiatives like the Reuse Denver Program, established by the City and County of Denver and in collaboration with our firm, are examples of how we can integrate real solutions into real-life scenarios.

Following the plastic and polystyrene bag ban in Colorado, this program helps implement this regulation. We explored the topic in our previous blog, Diving Into Colorado's Polystyrene and Plastic Bag Ban in the Food Service Sector to learn more about it.

The Reuse Denver program started a pilot program in 2023-24 to promote the use of reusable service ware in minority and women-owned food establishments. Funded by the City's Disposable Bag fee, the program provides each participating business with $600 worth of reusable service ware and personalized consulting services from our team of Diversion Designers.

One of our success stories is MyKings Ice Cream, which has eliminated styrofoam from its inventory, thanks to the Reuse Denver program. The owner, LeDay Grant, saves significant costs annually and prevents many single-use items from ending up in Colorado landfills. This initiative enhances the customer experience and aligns with Colorado's recent ban on plastics.

The Benefits of Reusable Service Ware

  • Environmental Considerations

Investing in durable serving ware for "for here" customers has a significant positive impact on the environment. For instance, stainless steel cutlery becomes more environmentally friendly than disposable cutlery after just two washes, according to Upstream's "Reuse Wins" report. Similarly, using one ceramic cup 500 times consumes far less water than producing 500 paper cups.

  • Financial Savings

Switching to reusables can lead to substantial savings for small businesses, ranging from $3,000 to $22,000 annually. Additionally, reusable products are less susceptible to supply chain disruptions, providing a more stable and cost-effective solution for food service ware.

  • Options for Reusable Products

Businesses can choose from diverse materials for reusable serviceware, such as ceramic, glass, stainless steel, or durable plastic. There are several ways to implement reusable systems, including in-house cleaning, contracting with a specialized company, or encouraging customers to bring their containers.

Taking Action towards Sustainability and a Zero-Waste Future

The urgency of reusable service ware is evident for a cleaner planet and Diversion Designers is here to help. We are still recruiting Denver-based brick-and-mortar food establishments to join this zero-waste initiative. If your business is interested in participating, apply today for a chance to be selected and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Don’t miss out and complete the form: Reuse Denver Program

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