wisebox toronto

Toronto is getting its first city-wide reusable restaurant takeout container program

Toronto is about to take a huge step in the direction of eliminating single-use plastics by implementing its very first reusable restaurant takeout container program. 

Fourteen restaurants in Toronto will participate in the Wisebox pilot program beginning on February 21, which will allow customers to rent reusable containers for a $5 deposit from any participating restaurant

Customers will then be able to return the boxes to any of the participating locations for a full refund of their deposit. 

"With consumers increasingly aware of the environmental cost of their lifestyles, and frequently predicating shopping decisions on a desire to lower carbon footprints and waste generation, innovative solutions such as Wisebox are responding to consumer agency and market demand," reads a release about the new program.

"The programme introduces Millenial-friendly sharing economy principles to the takeout industry."

Wisebox, founded by Erika Reyes and Beth Szurpicki, will also offer a loyalty program which will provide members with discounts of up to 15 per cent off each meal taken out in the reusable containers.

According to the City’s 2018 Waste Audit, Toronto’s single-family households generate over 85 million units of styrofoam takeaway containers and cups annually.

And according to Restaurants Canada, food delivery sales in the country rose between 49 and 54 percent in 2018, thanks in part to the increased popularization of food delivery apps. 

Wisebox aims to help curb that increase as well as address the fact that less than ten percent of Canada’s plastics actually get recycled.  

Neighbourhood initiatives such as Roncy Reduces have already tried to encourage the use of reusable containers in Toronto, but Wisebox is the first program to go city-wide. 

Restaurants participating in the pilot include Miya Bhai, MugiFarm’r, GushiCoffee & all that Jazz, Colombian Street Food, Tibet Cafe & BarLibertad Mexicana, Maizal TortilleriaCafe Tibet Bar & Grill, Free Times Cafe, Karine’s, Pow Wow and Wanda’s Pie in the Sky

The pilot project will run for four months while insights from users and businesses are collected, and phase two will begin in June with improvements according to consumer feedback.

Wisebox says they hope to add at least 100 more restaurants to the program by year's end. 

Lead photo by

Jimena Teran


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