Image for Reusable boxes for a takeaway without the throwaway

Reusable boxes for a takeaway without the throwaway

A returnable lunchbox scheme is being trialled at a London food market in a bid to reduce packaging

A returnable lunchbox scheme is being trialled at a London food market in a bid to reduce packaging

It is being rolled out at Tachbrook Street Market in Pimlico, a lunch spot popular with office workers.

It works like this: when ordering, diners flash their membership cards at vendors, who then serve their takeaway in a biodegradable lunchbox made of rice husks. Each box has a barcode, which is scanned, along with the membership card, and assigned to the customer.

Once they’ve eaten their food, diners take the lunchbox to a nearby drop-off point – in this case a branch of Waitrose – and rescan it to confirm its return. Dirty lunchboxes are then taken away, cleaned and delivered back to vendors for the process to begin again.

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The scheme, which costs £5 to subscribe to, is being operated by a startup called CauliBox, in partnership with Westminster Council and local food vendors. “Traders told us that they wanted to stop using single-use containers,” explained a spokesperson for Westminster Council.

Only a couple of hundred lunchboxes are in circulation so far, but the council will make more available if the trial proves a success. “We are hoping to expand it,” the spokesperson added.

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