The Linear Foodservice Packaging Model is Unsustainable
Every year in the United States an estimated one trillion single-use food service products becomes 9 million tons of waste after being used only as long as it takes to finish a meal or drink a coffee. Only a small fraction of these products are recycled or composted according to the EPA. Most are landfilled and incinerated, and too many end up littering our communities, clogging storm drains, and polluting our marine ecosystems.
Re:Dish is replacing this broken linear system with a circular model in which products are reused over and over again before they are recycled at the end of their useful lives. The waste reduction and climate benefits are clear: reuse wins.
How Reuse Wins
While litter is a visual reminder of the broken linear system, the less visible and lesser known story is that the journey from raw material to ready-to-use disposable product requires substantial amounts of energy and water and results in emissions of greenhouse gasses and other harmful chemicals.
On the other hand, delivering a clean Re:Dish product, collecting it after use, and washing it for reuse generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions and uses less water than making a new single-use product each time. Eliminating the need to manufacture new containers with each use means Re:Dish is environmentally favorable after only the first few washes.
The Environmental Benefits of Re:Dishing Add Up
An organization using an average of 500 compostable molded fiber products per day, five days per week, disposes of 125,000 single-use products in a year (250 days). Replacing those compostable products with Re:Dish’s service reduces the organization’s Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 77% and results in 67% less water use.
LBS OF WASTE DIVERTED
CARS OFF THE ROAD FOR A DAY
13,709 kg of CO2e
BOTTLES OF WATER SAVED
19,134 gallons of water
Sustainability Plays a Key Role in Re:Dish Products
Re:Dish products are made in the USA from FDA-approved food-grade polypropylene that is free from the harmful chemicals BPA and PFAS. NSF certification means they are designed with ease of washing in mind, which translates into less water and energy needed to achieve Re:Dish’s high standards of cleanliness.
Ecolab has certified the products for up to 1,000 washes using commercial equipment, which speaks to their durability and ability to be used many times without needing replacement. When they do need to be replaced, Re:Dish products are ground into flakes and used to make new products, which reduces demand for virgin plastic material.
Our Commitment to Sustainability
Goes Beyond Our Service and Products
At Re:Dish, we strive to make all aspects of our business as environmentally-friendly as possible. While we recognize that there is always room for improvement, here are some of the steps we are taking to ensure our business operates as sustainably as possible.
Re:Dish has adopted a zero waste plan for its operations and has set an ambitious goal to achieve zero waste certification in 2023. We conducted our first waste audit and began measuring our waste streams daily in 2021, the first year of operation. Since we began measuring, our total waste diversion rate has reached 76%. Here are some of the strategies we employ:
Since we began measuring, Re:Dish has sent more than 2,400 lbs of organic material to compost processing facilities. Nearly all of this material is food scraps collected in the used products from our client sites that most likely would have otherwise ended up in landfill.
One of Re:Dish’s challenges has been disposing of the plastic film our manufacturer uses to pack our new products when they are shipped to us. In addition to asking our supplier to skip the bags in the first place, in September of 2021 Re:Dish partnered with NYC company, aNYbag, which uses that plastic film to create designer handbags.
Our largest climate change impacts come from the combustion-engine vehicles we use for collection and delivery (Scope 1) and the electricity we purchase for washing products (Scope 2). We are currently using the most energy-efficient washing equipment available and are eagerly awaiting the availability of electric delivery vehicles that will meet our specific needs. As we scale, we will continue to optimize our delivery and collection routes and methods to minimize environmental and social impacts. In the meantime, while we are not currently able to purchase renewable energy directly in our facility, we are exploring our options to credibly offset the emissions we generate in our facility and from all other sources.
Not surprisingly, the majority of our water is directly related to washing products. Our equipment recirculates the water used for the final rinse and uses it for the initial rinse. Eventually we would like to purify and reuse all the water we use for washing on site to reduce or eliminate water drawn from the local utility and also eliminate the need to send our wastewater to a treatment plant.