Greenpoint restaurants now offering reusable, returnable takeout containers

Greenpoint restaurants now offering reusable, returnable takeout containers
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Now this is clean eating!

Two Greenpoint restaurants are now offering reusable takeout containers — and discounts for diners who use and return them — as part of a new five-month experiment called Shareware that they hope will prove to-go services can be less trashy.

“The restaurant business is such a wasteful industry as it is,” said Todd Andrews, the chef and general manager at Italian eatery Anella on Franklin and Green streets, which has been offering Shareware since Dec. 8. “I think it’s an opportunity to show people it’s possible to at least attempt to cut down on restaurant waste.”

Joining Anella in the planet-friendly program is comfort-food restaurant Jimmy’s on Calyer and Franklin streets.

To participate, eco-savvy eaters need to sign up for Shareware free online and then let the eateries know they’re part of the project when ordering food. After chowing down, they rinse out the containers and return them to either restaurant, which will then hand the returnee a 10-percent discount coupon for their next purchase and clean the receptacles in a heavy-duty dishwasher.

So far, 14 people have joined, according to the program’s organizers.

They acknowledge they’re asking members to put in more leg work and elbow grease than the average take-out customer, but believe the discount and sense of satisfaction for helping save the earth will be enough incentive for local do-gooders to get on board.

“The people participating are community members who are passionate about being part of reusable container program so they’re probably eager and excited to return it,” said Allison Currier, the environmental and community organizer for eco-activist group Neighbors Allied for Good Growth.

The group purchased 250 polypropylene boxes with grant money from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund — a state slush fund created from money ExxonMobil had to cough up after spilling some 30 million gallons of oil into the Newtown Creek — which will be in rotation for the next five months.

Seasoned readers will remember “shareware” as free or cheap computer-game demos that small software developers distributed on floppy disks in the 1990s, which people could copy for friends in the hope that they’d generate buzz and eventually customers — and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth are aiming for the kind of grassroots success enjoyed by “Doom” and “Commander Keen” to keep their Shareware going.

The organization doesn’t have any more cash right now to keep the project going after the pilot, but Currier says it will at least create a how-to guide at the end so other eateries can replicate the service, and she thinks they will — even if only to save some dough on disposable containers.

“There is cost saving — you’re purchasing something that’s reusable and not disposable,” she said.

Sign up for Shareware at www.nag-brooklyn.org/shareware.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill