Full-Cycle Reusable Take-Out Container Program in O‘ahu

A single-use take-out container in a field of grass.

Through the Full-Cycle Reusable Take-Out Container Program, Zero Waste O‘ahu is using a hands-on approach to reduce marine debris by minimizing the use of single-use plastic take-out containers.

Type of Project: Prevention 

Region: Pacific Islands 

Project Dates: October 2020 - September 2022

Who is involved? 
Zero Waste O'ahu, in collaboration with Surfrider O'ahu and Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program prevention grant, plan to reduce land-based marine debris by minimizing the use of single-use plastic take-out containers. They will conduct a pilot project working with restaurants to implement a reusable take-out container program. 

What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic food containers are a significant source of marine debris in Hawaii. During the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup, food wrappers, beverage bottles, and packaging were among the top ten items collected on Hawaii beaches. Plastic food containers are a significant source of land based marine and coastal pollution in Hawaii. 

The Full Cycle Take-Out pilot project will prevent potential marine debris from entering waters and shorelines in Hawaii through a reusable take-out container program. Project partners will work with restaurants on the North Shore of O‘ahu, a popular destination for residents and tourists. Full Cycle Take-Out will distribute, collect, sanitize, store, and redistribute clean containers to participating food vendors, eliminating the purchase and disposal of single-use containers. Project volunteers will be on-site offering instruction and education to customers about the positive impacts of this program and the system for returning the containers. This pilot project aims to demonstrate to food vendors the reduced costs, reduced litter, accessibility, and benefits of reusable takeout containers.

For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse