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Reusable Container Pilot Project


Our new pilot program will launch in January 2024.  It will introduce reusable, double-walled stainless steel takeout containers as an alternative to disposable containers in four participating restaurants in Portsmouth and Dover.  

The primary objective of this pilot program is to support a shift away from single-use and towards reusables within the restaurant sector. It complements the work already done in Dover by the Dover Plastic Reduction Group and in the Greater Portsmouth area through the Surfrider Foundation NH Chapter’s Skip the Stuff campaign and onboarding of Ocean Friendly Restaurants. By further minimizing single-use containers which are largely made of plastic and are non-recyclable, this pilot will decrease waste, help protect the environment, and implement reusable infrastructure in Seacoast restaurants.


Why It Matters

New Hampshire prides itself on a healthy environment that benefits its residents and encourages tourism. Protecting that environment is essential to the health of our state. An area of growing concern in that regard is the pollution of our waterways and oceans, our wildlife, our air, and our bodies by plastic waste and the associated toxic chemicals they carry.


Significant contributors to plastic waste are all types of single-use plastic containers and packaging. Replacing single-use plastic containers, such as those used for takeout meals from restaurants, with reusable containers is one action we can take to reduce plastic waste and protect our environment and our health. A recent analysis comparing reusable and single-use restaurant takeout systems found that switching to a reusable system can result in reductions in primary energy use, global warming potential, water consumption, waste, and cost for the restaurants.

How It Works

During the pilot project, participating restaurants will be given 50 reusable containers from FoodWare.  The containers are tracked with a system akin to checking out library books. The customer downloads the FoodWare application on their smartphone, scans the restaurant QR code upon arrival and then scans the QR code on their containers. Through the FoodWare app, there is the ability to track personal impact using a variety of metrics such as the number of single-use containers avoided and CO2 emissions saved. Restaurants are responsible for washing and sanitizing the used containers before reuse, just as they are for in-house reusable wares. 

To ensure the success of the program, Christina Dubin and Kristine Baber will serve as managers, collecting data from restaurants throughout the pilot to inform case studies and in the later stages they will run an educational campaign for the greater public about the benefits of reusable containers and publish a guide to serve as a template for other cities and towns in New Hampshire. 

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