For 10, years Megan Takeda-Tully felt Toronto needed a more sustainable form of takeout to counter the non-recyclable black plastic packaging that comes with most orders. But it was only recently that consumer demand caught up with her vision.
Takeda-Tully and partner Julianna Greco launched Suppli, a service that helps restaurants and their customers cut down on waste from the get-go.
Founded in 2020, Suppli works by providing food-grade stainless steel containers with silicone lids to partnering restaurants that customers can choose to add to their orders for 99 cents. Once finished with the meal, customers return the containers to one of many neighbourhood drop-off centres; the containers are then cleaned and distributed back to restaurants to be used again.
“Restaurant owners have been waiting for a reusable takeout container service,” Greco said in an email interview. “And now that they have it, they are going above and beyond to encourage others to try Suppli.”
Each year, only nine per cent of the 3.2 million tonnes of plastic waste generated in Canada is recycled, the federal government said in 2020. Takeout alone produces 78 million pieces of waste annually, most of which ends up in landfills and contributes to Canada’s growing amount of garbage, according to Suppli.
The company is working to find a solution to the “make, use, dispose” model that dominates the market by creating a circular economy in which products can be reused in a way that is both affordable and sustainable.
“For the average citizen, the best approach is to support politically progressive change toward more sustainable futures, and to make as informed choices about consumption and living as possible,” said John Robinson, presidential advisor on the environment, climate change and sustainability at University of Toronto, in an email.
According to Greco, Suppli has saved over 20,000 single-use takeout containers from landfills in two years.
Greco said that Suppli will continue growing across Toronto in 2022 and plans to expand into new cities and countries over the coming years.
“Knowledge can empower people to change their behaviour, as small as it might seem,” Greco said. “If we all make small changes, it makes a huge difference! One coffee and one takeout meal at a time.”