With the take-out boom, returnable glass boxes are repacking the disposable

In Toulouse, more than 10,000 returnable glass containers of “En Boîte le Plat” are in circulation for take-out. – En Boite le Plat / ETIC Packaging

  • Two years ago, the Etic Emballages association set up an experimental system of returnable glass boxes in restaurants that sell take-out.
  • Today, with the closure of restaurants and the take-away boom, their device is attracting more and more businesses.
  • This economic and ecological concept makes it possible to reduce the mass of waste produced every day, awarded at national level, is being deployed in other cities, in particular Rennes.

In cardboard, plastic, bamboo or even cellulose. Three years ago, it was estimated at more than three tonnes the weight of disposable packaging used every day by restaurants in Toulouse, whether they are biodegradable or not. With the closure of restaurants due to the coronavirus, and the take-out boom, this figure is far from improving over the past year. To avoid exploding our trash cans, and preserve the planet, two years ago Toulouse residents had the idea of ​​deploying the deposit of glass containers to professionals in the sector.

Baptized “In a box the dish”, this project led by Etic Emballages was first tested, before being implemented with shops. With a simple concept: for a subscription ranging from 20 to 40 euros per month, the network provides at least a hundred glass boxes to the restaurant owner, who makes him pay a deposit of 3 euros per container to his client. The latter is free to bring it back to his restaurant when he next purchases a dish, to one of the partner places or collection points which returns his deposit.

“Today, we have about sixty partner shops, against thirteen at the start of 2020. With the health crisis, many people have had a reflection on ecology, those who started to make take-out did not all want to use disposable and then contacted us, ”explains Céline Gorin, one of the co-founders of Etic Emballages, whose concept is being emulated in Rennes and soon in Compiègne.

Ecological and economical

As soon as restaurateurs run out of boxes, they are restocked by cargo bike by the network, which also supports them in raising awareness of recycling issues and promoting their approach. A concept that has seduced street food brands as well as more gourmet restaurants, such as Les sales gosses, in the Saint-Aubin district.

“During the second lockdown, we decided to go into take-out, but we weren’t keen on doing it with disposables. We found this solution which has several advantages: ecological of course, but also economical because if we compare with disposable it is cheaper. And then the glass also allows us to prepare our dishes because we are semi-gourmet, which we could not do with disposable ”, insists Marie, the pastry chef.

At the rate of three boxes per meal, or nearly sixty per service, she quickly took into account what their customers did not throw away. And few people complain about having to pay a deposit. “I’ve only had two since November to be reluctant. On the contrary, they are happy to participate in this process, some have told me that they even came to us on purpose for that, it is a boost for ecological awareness ”, assures Marie.

Like her, more and more of them are adopting this system, which the creators hope to convince by next year 300 restaurateurs from Toulouse to use it. Their concept has just been adopted by ADEME and Citeo as part of their Call for expressions of interest (AMI) for the experimentation of a device for the reuse of glass packaging. A financial boost “to support our model, the objective of which is to compete with disposables so that it is attractive”, concludes Céline Gorin.

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