PORTLAND, Ore. -- Laura Weiss loves Portland’s food carts, but she loves the environment more.
So she founded ‘GO Box,’ a reusable container she created to keep those single-use food containers out of landfills. It's a simple way to do away with disposable containers.
The GO Box containers get picked up, washed and then reused.
GO Box is now one year old. So far, there are some 800 members and 50 vendors on board.
“You get your meal in this plastic disposable container, you'd eat your lunch, 20 minutes later it was in the trash. It always bothered me,” says Weiss. “I figured we're using at least 60,000 disposable containers every month, just from the food carts. Reuse is always better than recycling.”
Diners pay a $12 subscription fee for the reusable container.
After using it, the container is dropped at one of several GO Box locations around the city. The subscriber receives a token that can be redeemed at food carts for another GO Box.
“We've eliminated the use of over 7,000 disposable containers since launching,” says Weiss.
Laura uses her 'GO cart' to pick up the boxes.
Workers at a commercial kitchen clean them, and then she returns them to the participating vendors to start the process all over again.
For the vendors, it saves money compared to buying more disposable containers. And Laura's idea is spreading, with inquiries from other like-minded environmentalists from Denver to Honolulu to Seattle - but she's says it had to start here first.
“I've always kind of said, if it wasn't going to work in Portland it wasn't going to work anywhere.”