PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the community, more people began ordering takeout from restaurants and this meant more to-go containers in landfills, but a Portland business wants to change that.
GO Box PDX, founded in 2011, is a subscription service that offers reusable containers and cups to vendors and customers. People can pay for a monthly or yearly subscription, borrow a certain number of re-usable items and later return them to a drop site.
The items are then commercially sanitized and returned to vendors.
“The typical American is going out to eat one, two, three sometimes four times per week, and every time you’re going out, you’re getting a couple of food containers that have to be thrown away,” said GO Box PDX Chief Executive Officer Jocelyn Quarrell.
Quarrell said they are increasing subscribers every month, which is a relief, due to the coronavirus pandemic impacting business back in March of 2020. People were hesitant to use a service where people would be sharing containers, she added.
“We have a team of six right now, which feels big considering where we last year. It was hard on us,” Quarrell said. “We had to stop operating for awhile just because of the effects of the pandemic.”
However, she noted that people are more on-board with the service and hopes to expand the company to other cities.
GO Box PDX partners with about 100 restaurants, food carts and grocery stores in the area. According to the company, it has prevented the use and disposal of 202,678 single-use containers and cups so far.
The service also partners with Imperfect Foods, a grocery delivery service, to sanitize ice gel packs to help re-use other products and eliminate waste.
“We’re washing about 10,500 gel packs every single week,” added Quarrell.
People can find GO Box PDX drop off sites throughout the Portland metro area.