Would Durable Containers for Takeaway Food Work?

tupperware.jpgThe other day, my friend Brie and I were talking about the annoyance of getting gigantic styrofoam containers and plastic bags every time you order take-a-way from a restaurant or decide to take home leftovers. Why not make a little collapsable container that’s small enough to take with you when you go out to eat? Despite the potential for tackiness, it struck me as a good business idea. It seems, however, that good ol’ Tupperware has beaten us to it, offering a nifty series of collapsable containers which, concievably, could be used for just that purpose.
On another note, what if a delivery service gave you the food already in some kind of Tupperware style container? You might have to pay a deposit, but the next time you order you would just exchange the old Tupperware for the new one being delivered. They could be standardized so that many restaurants could share them. Hmm…. maybe corn-based biodegradables are better. What do you think?

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

6 responses

  1. Yeah, in India they’re called “tiffins” and are 3-5 tier small round stacking tin trays that lock into place with a carrying handle. People bring them from home or stop into street vendors and have them filled up. Of course here in the US, we’re a little anal about cleanliness and keeping things ultra warm or cold, which they don’t do there. Of course they dont use much mayo or dairy in their food other than fermented milks and fresh milk in chai. Not sure how that all would work with tuna or egg salad or even burgers with “special sauce” if you plsn to to casrry it with you for a few hours before you eat it… Still they have a whole cultural model of the fast food carry out container that’s worth looking at.

  2. I love the idea. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it myself. The biggest barrier here is the social/cultural one. I think my husband would die of embarassment if I reached into my purse to pull out a Tupperware to bring home my food.
    You know where they could start it off? Any sort of natural foods restaurant. Today I was at Whole Foods and everyone is sitting there eating out of disposable plastic containers.
    I guess the other big issue is having the capacity to wash the containers once you receive them back (if they go back to the restaurant).

  3. what about the restaurant / deli providing the option of a reusable plastic container for an extra charge of, say, one dollar (which covers the cost to restaurant) and person can take it home and add it to their ‘tupperware’ collection – this would avoid the issue of the restaurant taking back and cleaning the containers.

  4. Im working on a similar project, trying to figure out how to do it with MILK BOTTLES. the concept: the costumer buys a durable milk bottle and fills it at a milk container (about 20liter) in the supermarket (with the amount s/he wants). of course this lowers the cost of the milk for the costumer, which will be the motive for bringing the bottle (washed) again, for re-filling. the milk-container is replaced every other day by the producer, washed and refilled at the milk factory. any suggestions?

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