Four things to ask your reuse provider

More and more businesses, events, and foodservice operations are giving up single-use serveware and switching to reusables. But did you know some reusable programs are better for the environment than others?

Here are some important questions to ask your reuse provider so you can be sure your program is truly protecting the planet—and your business.

1. “What percentage of your cups and serveware are reused?”

If your reuse provider is only able to collect 70-80% of their reusables, it means plenty of waste is still ending up in landfills. Fortunately, there’s no reason to settle for a low reuse rate. The best reuse providers have created systems that ensure items are returned and reused at a rate of about 90 to 95%, or higher.

2. “How many times are your cups and serveware being reused?”

Some products that are called “reusable” are actually not sturdy enough to last for more than one or two uses. Be sure your provider is using durable materials that can be reused at least 10 and hopefully closer to 300 times. Make sure they’re also upcycling their serveware into other usable products, like reuse bins and delivery totes, once they’re no longer able to be reused in foodservice settings.

3. “How are your reusables sanitized?”

There’s a wide range of standards when it comes to washing reusable cups and serveware, and some are not as stringent as you might expect—especially for foodservice operations. There are three things to look for with your reuse provider: First, are they using a highly sanitized facility with state-of-the-art wash technology and the highest level of quality-control measures? Second, are they using technology that minimizes water waste? And, third, are they minimizing the carbon emissions involved with picking up and delivering your reusables? Some reuse providers are cutting corners, but you’ll have the most integrity and quality in your program if you find a provider who’s excelling in all three of those areas.

4. “What’s the lifetime carbon footprint of your reusables?”

If your goal is to protect the planet, be sure you choose a reuse provider that’s implementing sustainable practices throughout every step of the process. Not every provider is focused on eliminating waste, toxicity, and carbon emissions in every corner of their reuse program. Be sure to ask about how and where their products are manufactured, shipped, washed, and handled. Are they implementing sustainable practices all throughout?


If you’re thinking of giving up single-use serveware and switching to reusables, congratulations! You’re about to make the world a better place. And if you want to be sure you’ve got the most sustainable, most simple, and most scalable reuse solution, be sure you’re asking the right questions.

A better future is in your hands.

Are you ready to partner with a truly sustainable reuse provider?