Food carts offering gourmet delicacies at bargain prices are a hot trend in many U.S. cities, but their disposable to-go containers take a toll on the environment.
A new business, GO Box, wants to eliminate single-use take-out containers from food trucks in Portland, which boasts over 200 carts available at any given time, according to the online guide Food Carts Portland. GO Box estimates that the food carts in downtown Portland alone use 60,000 disposable containers a month – enough to fill a small food cart.
State health regulations prohibit food carts from serving meals in customers’ personal containers – preventing street food aficionados from reducing this waste stream on their own – so that’s where GO Box comes in.
To become a GO Box subscriber, you pay a one-time fee of $8.50 at a participating food cart, and your take-out meal will be served in a BPA-free reusable plastic clamshell container. After you finish your meal, drop off the container at one of GO Box’s drop-off sites, and you’ll receive a token to exchange for another GO Box container when you purchase your next meal at a participating food cart.
GO Box containers are then picked up, professionally washed and delivered to food carts. Making the enterprise even more eco-friendly, all pick-ups and deliveries are carried out on bicycle.
Once GO Box’s reusable containers have reached the end of their useful lives, the plastic #5 boxes will be recycled, the company says.