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New Technology For Universities to Eliminate Packaging Waste

A new technology solution to eliminate single-use packaging waste launched this fall at Simon Fraser University (SFU), following a successful pilot last year that saw 125 kg of single-use packaging waste reduced and more than 500 kg of carbon emissions avoided in six months.

Reusables.com, a leading technology platform for the circular economy, announced its partnership with Compass Group Canada (through their educational food service division, Chartwells), Canada’s leading food service and support services company. With interest from universities across the country, Reusables is rolling out its new Tap to Reuse and Smart Return Bin technology, first at SFU’s Mackenzie Café.

As of September this year, customers at SFU’s busy Mackenzie Café are replacing single-use packaging with stainless steel reusable containers powered by Reusables’ RFID technology that allows anyone to easily borrow and return containers, like a library system. The model is free for users and helps food service operations save costs on disposable packaging.

“Our vision is to make reusable packaging the default for food services globally,” said Reusables.com CEO and co-founder Jason Hawkins. “We want to make reuse completely frictionless and traceable so we can move away from plastic forever. Our technology advancements, and impactful partnerships like this, are the next step towards that goal.”

The move comes in an effort to continue the reduction of single use plastics in the food service industry at a critical time. The use of single-use plastic packaging has increased exponentially in recent decades, contributing to the growing issue of plastic waste. With only a small percentage of plastic or compostables being recycled in Canada, approaches that focus on reduction and reuse are the most effective means to prevent packaging from becoming waste in the first place.

Reusables.com provides enabling technology for food service operators to offer reusable containers as an alternative to disposable packaging. The company initially launched with restaurants in Vancouver and is now providing its technology to universities and corporate campuses in North America to make reusable packaging the new standard.

“SFU is excited to announce that we’re launching Reusables across the Burnaby campus. The Reusables program aligns with our single-use product reduction goals as a part of our Re-use For Good program and promotes circular economy practices within our campuses.” said Sid Mehta, the Senior Director of Ancillary Services at SFU. “Campuses around the world are pursuing innovative sustainability initiatives, like reusable packaging for on-campus food services, that improve their environmental stewardship, reduce costs associated with disposable packaging and deliver positive student experiences. Reusables drives high-performance reuse systems that deliver better sustainability results for universities, while also reducing costs on disposables.”

“At Compass Group Canada, we are on a journey with our Planet Promise commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our global operations by 2050,” said Kevin Booth, Executive Vice President of Chartwells. “As part of this Planet Promise, we are excited to partner with Reusables.com to support our aligned sustainability innovation initiatives and waste reduction goals at SFU with their convenient and successful reusable packaging program.”

Reusables.com’s software tracks and reports on the environmental impact created. Its RFID tags and automated return system manages containers with a 99% overall return rate. The company’s plastic free, high-performance containers and cups do not require an app or a deposit, making it the most convenient and scalable platform for sustainable packaging.

“It’s inspiring to see the impact that our technology and partnership with Compass Group Canada is having at SFU. We are excited to bring this barrier-free reuse solution to more campuses across the country and create a new future for food packaging” said Reusables.com co-founder and COO Anastasia Kiku.