ReCirculation designs solutions to move businesses and cities away from using single-use. Their product, GreenToGo, is a city-wide reusables system located in Durham, NC that utilizes a QR codes to track container usage.
ReCirculation builds customized reusables systems for companies by using existing infrastructure and waste management systems to motivate behavior change. Their GreenToGo system is a proof of concept for implementing reusables city-wide. GreenToGo currently operates in 26 restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores. It utilizes mobile app technology and QR codes to track container usage, and has return stations around the city of Durham, NC. The GreenToGo system provides dishwashing, container pick up and return, and staff training. Further information about GreenToGo is outlined below.
ReCirculation designs systems for removing single-use packaging for individual vendors, multi-vendors, and cities, and also provide customized solutions. ReCirculation is currently designing the second pilot to test their hypothesis that existing infrastructure from the recycling industry can be adapted to recover and redistribute reusable materials.
Greentogo uses a spill proof eco takeout box made by GET enterprises. The box is made of durable #5 propylene plastic that can be used up to 1,000 times. The box is recyclable, NSF certified, BPA free, microwave safe and stackable. When a container breaks, it is reused to make display signage at participating restaurants. In the future, Greentogo plans to design and manufacture containers that are made specifically for their reuse system, with better durability, longer longevity and maximized material health and recyclability.
Customers subscribe to the Durham GreenToGo reusables service using the Greentogo app. The subscription is $30-$40/year and allows users to check out 1-3 containers at a time from participating restaurants. When a reusables container is checked out using the app, a restaurant unique QR code is scanned. This allows GreenToGo to track containers. Users can then return containers to any participating restaurant or any public return station in the city of Durham. Return stations are locked, pest proof structures that are designed with the local health department.
GreenToGo picks up dirty containers from the drop-off stations twice per week by bike. Containers are then washed and sanitized in commercial dishwashers that meet health code standards and returned to participating restaurants. Operators can call for a pick up or drop off and ask for specific delivery times.
Restaurants pay $500/year to participate. This includes all the GreenToGo containers the restaurant can use, a return station, and free PR, including promotions at GreenToGo events and tags on social media.
In designing reusables systems outside of Durham, ReCirculation can connect reusables systems to off-site dishwashing facilities or help to establish dishwashing facilities in house. The current system needs to be staffed, but GreenToGo is working to design other solutions such as grab and go.
Greentogo provides in-person training for staff, provides signage for customers and can do demonstrations on-site to teach customers how it works.
A QR code on each Greentogo container allows Greentogo to know who has each container and where it is. Using the QR code and Greentogo app, they track how often containers are checked out and restaurant inventory.
80-85% of containers are returned. The first time that users lose a box, their account will be reset for free. After that, lost box replacement is $5.
GreenToGo is currently in 26 restaurants in Durham, NC.