Last March, Tiffin Indian Cuisine began offering a new line of eco-friendly take-out containers that can be used, returned to the restaurants and used again, up to 1,000 times. The initiative has been such a hit, Tiffin President and CEO Munish Narula is being sought after to provide guidance to other restaurants on how to go green!
“We share our customers’ concern about the number of plastic containers we use every year that, more than likely, end up in the trash,” Narula explains noting that his 10 units produce some 80,000 pick-up and delivery orders a year.
Dubbed “Return2Tiffin,” the program offers the new containers through Tiffin’s online ordering portal at tiffin.com. Made from highly durable polypropylene, the containers are BPA free, microwavable, dishwasher safe and certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the independent public-health organization that certifies the cooking equipment used by restaurant kitchens, as being safe for food.
“We frequently get requests from customers asking us to consider better packaging or even take back all the containers they have accumulated. We have tested a number of eco-friendly options over the years, but they all failed to stand up to the extreme temperature of the food and remain leak proof. That’s a non-starter for good delivery, so we kept looking,” Says Narula. “We finally found the one we were looking for,” he said.
They can also be washed and re-used up to 1,000 times and then recycled. Although still made of plastic, the new containers give customers an eco-friendlier option and will reduce the need for traditional plastic containers that often end up in the trash or littering streets and waterways because they are hard to recycle.
In 2018, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates show 14.5 million tons of plastic packaging was produced while less than 14% was recycled with most of the remainder being landfilled.
Here is how it works: When ordering at tiffin.com, customers can choose the new containers during the checkout process. When finished, customers are responsible for rinsing them and returning them to Tiffin by way of a delivery drivers when placing another order, or in a drop box that will be available inside the front of every tiffin location. The containers will then be washed and sanitized in the restaurant. More info here.
Customers have an ample six weeks to make the return to avoid being charged the cost of the container.
“We recognize the need for Tiffin to do its part to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Narula. “This is an easy way for us and our customers to have a positive impact on our Philadelphia home.”