Reusable packaging at Burger King is a Whopper of an idea

empty styrofoam litter on street
Photo: Simon McGill (Getty Images)

In a bit of non-cow farting news, Burger King is quietly experimenting with a potentially environmentally friendly change by testing out reusable packaging for food, soft drinks, and coffee, The Hill reports. BK is partnering with TerraCycle’s zero-waste delivery platform, called Loop, to get this started.

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When you order your food and choose the reusable packaging option for the first time, you’ll be charged a deposit fee which will be returned when the reusable packaging is returned, Burger King’s press release states. Everything will be washed and reused to prevent excess packaging waste.

I am in favor for this idea, though I’m sure, knowing me, some of these containers are going to sit in my car for a little too long. I can’t guarantee they’ll smell too good, either, but now that cold weather is coming, maybe it won’t be as bad as food remnants in summer heat. Or, I imagine, if people really like the packaging they’ll just keep it at home for a while and reuse it there, though I’m not sure how much use you could get out of a plastic clamshell box, except maybe as a place to save extra ketchup packets.

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It seems like BK isn’t messing around, either. Pilot testing is expected to start in 2021 in very large markets, including Tokyo, Portland, and New York City, with other cities added in the coming months.

Since there’s been such a large increase in takeout, hopefully this will cut down on all the empty paper cups and burger wrappers blowing around like tumbleweed down my street.

Burger King is bringing in other brands, including Kraft-Heinz, so that they can also hopefully participate in some way. The aim is to make 100% of Burger King’s packaging renewable, recycled, or produced from certified sources by 2025 in the U.S. and Canada.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

what would be great is if you could simply keep it and reuse it each time you got to BK, maybe something like:

1. choose reusable
2. they hand your food out the window or at the counter on a plastic tray eat-in style.
3. you put your food in the reusable container (neither the employee or the customer has to worry about touching something someone else has used)
4. you hand back the tray.

it might take a little longer in the drive through but would keep the cleaning costs low for the restaurant and peace of mind for the customer since only they have used the product in question. maybe even incentivize it with a small discount on food orders done with a reusable container (like 1-5% back in rewards points or something).