Minimizing Our Environmental Impact with TerraCycle

Jul 29, 2022 12:00:00 PM Sarah MacDougall

At F&F, we’re always looking to minimize our impact on the environment while maintaining the quality that our members expect week in and week out. We’ve made a lot of progress with our reusable insulated bags and ice packs, and our food waste is essentially zero as our leftovers always go directly to local shelters. But when it comes to our food containers, we know there is room for improvement...

After learning about the intricacies (and flaws) of municipal curbside recycling, we discovered that many communities we serve do not have the capabilities to recycle our plastic containers reliably. We immediately looked for a solution and began designing, prototyping, and manufacturing our own reusable packaging solution.

As we move full speed ahead on our custom reusables, we wanted to push to reduce our impact in the short term...

We'll now accept our Members’ sanitized plastic containers along with their bags and ice packs. All containers will be collected, consolidated and picked up at our facility by our recycling partner, TerraCycle. 

Why TerraCycle?

TerraCycle specializes in collecting hard-to-recycle materials and repurposing them into affordable, innovative products, rather than being sent to a landfill.

Typically, the price of collecting, processing, and recycling a specific material determines whether it will be recycled by your local curbside company. If the recycling process costs more than the value of what can be made from the raw materials, the item likely will not be recycled. This is often the case for various types of plastic packaging, snack wrappers, laminated paper packaging, etc. 

TerraCycle can process these hard-to-recycle materials (such as our black plastic containers) because they work with partners (such as us!) who help fund complicated and costly recycling processes. 

How it Works
When products arrive at the TerraCycle facility, all waste is sorted by its material composition. Once sorted, the different material types are sanitized and sent to third-party partners to process into usable forms.

For example, metals and aluminum are shredded and smelted into metal sheeting, ingots, or bar stock. Glass is crushed and melted to be used in new glass bottles, brick, cement, or concrete applications. 

When it comes to your F&F containers, the material is shredded, melted, and reformatted into pellets, flakes, or powder format - check out this video to watch the process in action.

After the waste is processed into raw material, it’s sold to manufacturers who use it to make products such as outdoor furniture, watering cans, storage containers, tubes for construction applications, flooring tiles, playground surface covers, athletic fields, and more... 

What’s Next
While we’re proud to take a step forward in our sustainability efforts with TerraCycle, we want to emphasize that we remain 100% focused on rolling out a fully reusable packaging solution. 

As much as we wish there was a roadmap to implement reusables, we will be the first meal delivery service to rollout out a custom, 100% reusable solution for our Members. We will continue working through the manufacturing process and working with TerraCycle will help us nail down several operational changes that need to be made before switching to reusables. 

Thanks for all your feedback and creative reuse solutions as we work together to create a more sustainable service.