IGA has teamed up with Reusables.com to do its part in the war on plastic.
Reusables.com is a container-sharing platform that was created during the pandemic for food takeout and delivery. Meals come in a stainless steel container that can be used, returned, sanitized and reused thousands of times, before being recycled, according to the company. Container usage and returns are managed through a user-friendly app.
Tom Truchan, director of project management and logistics at Georgia Main Food Group (IGA’s parent), says the company started looking at alternatives for single-plastic containers in 2019 when the City of Vancouver announced new bylaws on single-use plastic, as part of a phased-in strategy.
“There was a lot of talk among the city of Vancouver and other levels of government about the need for private business to come up with solutions with them,” says Truchan. “So, we had started looking at that internally on the possibility of doing a reusable container program in our stores. But with regards to the logistics of it, we just didn’t have the right infrastructure.”
After reading about Reusables.com servicing restaurants in Vancouver, Truchan reached out to see if the service could be expanded into the grocery space. They started with a pilot at Fresh St. Market in Vancouver. After a successful test, the program has now rolled out at IGA Robson, and Georgia Main plans to expand it across both banners.
The containers are used for deli and prepared foods, and the two companies are exploring more “smart container options” in other categories.