Packaging class

By ayr January 11, 2010

There’s an IAP design class at MIT that’s working with Clover for one of their projects. I’m hoping it’s going to be their most memorable project of the class. But I’m not doing a great job so far. I didn’t promote the class last week (TLC edged them out), and I was late for our first meeting today. I’d gotten held up at the bank, more on that later.

Our goals for packaging are simple: least negative impact to the environment while delivering a quality experience to customers. Secondarily we’re focused on aesthetics of course.

So I thought I’d post here a quick overview of the packaging we’ve used to date, with some comments. Those who read us often know:

(a) We’re excited about the idea of eliminating trash cans from our restaurants and moving to 100% compostable packaging

(b) I’m skeptical about the environmental benefits of re-usable packaging

Keep reading after the break if you’re interested in more detail about who we’ve worked with to date:

Like everything on the truck we’re trying to get the most learning for the least cost. So from the beginning we’ve been using a variety of packaging suppliers to get a sense of their capabilities. We’ve used:

– HT Berry

– US Foodservice

– Sysco

– Restaurant Depot

– Continental Packaging

– Vegware

– John Calarese and Company

– Mansfield paper

These folks, with the exception of Vegware, have been able to offer us limited products that meet our requirements. What I’ve found is that most of the major suppliers offer a few things that are “green” (e.g., clamshell boxes made from bamboo), but make it near impossible to go “green” across your line-up.

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