Eco-friendly disposable food containers

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?

March 11 , 2023

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?

Discover why the implementation of using sustainable takeout containers for the food industry is the only eco-friendly practice for the better future of the next generations.

The COVID pandemic has left a different world in different aspects. Where businesses learned alternative strategies to stay operational, a lot of challenges also came up. And food industry is one of the industries that was left with only one option if they wanted to stay operational: order takeouts.

The home dining experience also surged the demand for takeout containers and packaging where single-use containers were the only practical option. However, in the long run, we have learned a lot of lessons from the global pandemic. And the one lesson about making efforts to reduce plastic waste in all industries, specifically the food industry, is the significant one.


Out of total municipal solid waste,28.8% comes from packaging. Even more, only8.5% of 35.7 million tons of plastic packaging wastegenerated in the US is recycled every year. And the common styrofoam takeout packaging needs around 500 years to decompose fully.

In today’s article, we will introduce you to the types of sustainable packaging and takeout containers, the challenges to adopting these substitute products, and solutions to solve the whole equation.

The Negative Impact of Non-Sustainable Takeout Containers

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?

The non-compostable and non-disposable nature of the single-use or plastic takeout containers is only one angle of the picture. We will have to accept many other negative implications if we continue using non-sustainable packaging options in different industries.

The non-sustainable packaging options are a hazard to the whole environment. These packaging options not only add to the landfill leading to increased land pollution, but also pose a threat to marine life.

A report showed that the amount of plastic municipal solid waste generated in the US in 2018 was 90 times more than it was in 1960. Now you can imagine the volume after the three years of the post-pandemic era. The plastic and non-sustainable packaging options are disturbing the equation of the environment, leaving us with an unsustainable world to live in.

According to the stats, only in the United States, half the population has no facility or proper system to recyle the carryout containers from the food industry. Therefore, these plastic containers are likely to end up in landfill.

The impact of non-sustainable takeout containers on the food industry is not limited to environmental aspects. Instead, it increases the overall greenhouse emissions and also poses to be a sustainability problem for the food industry stakeholders. On the corporate side, businesses might be losing their revenues by using non-sustainable options as the millennials are 1.5 times more willing to choose a sustainable option than non-sustainable ones.

What Are Sustainable Takeout Containers?

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?


By definition, sustainable takeout containers and packaging is the one that is eco-friendly and has no negative implications for the environment, people, and all kind of life existing on the land and underwater.

Sustainable packaging options can easily be recycled and given a new life. The manufacturing process of sustainable packaging and containers is entirely based on recycled and renewable material. The other names used for sustainable packaging are environmental, climate-friendly, or green.

Types of Sustainable Takeout Containers

Sustainable takeout containers can be categorized into three types based on characteristics: compostable, reusable, and decomposable. Different materials can fall under different categories based on the three characteristics.

The most common types of sustainable takeout containers used in the food industry are as follows:


Aluminum packaging is a cost-effective and recyclable takeout container that is also safe for the oven, freezers, etc., due to its tolerance properties.


PET is an expensive takeout container but is commonly used for visually appealing packaging. Although it is a fully recyclable material, it doesn’t depict a good heat tolerance considering the needs of the food industry.

Bagasse Containers

Bagasse containers are made from the byproducts of sugar and wheat production. The natural look, compostable nature, water resistance, temperature resistance, insulating properties, and safe to use in microwaves and freezers have increased the popularity of bagasse takeout containers.

The bagasse packaging is an excellent solution for the hospitality sector due to its ready availability & high biodegradability within 90 days.

Paper containers

Papercontainers are also an option for food takeout in dry foods. Paper is also a sustainable packaging material that is cheap as well as fully compostable.


Polypropylene is also a cost-effective recyclable packaging material that is light in weight and often reusable. However, it is not accepted in all recycling centers.

Benefits of sustainable takeout containers

Benefits of sustainable takeout containers


The benefits of sustainable takeout containers for people, industry, and the environment are as follows:

1. Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints

2. Cost-effective solution when used at large scale

3. Lower energy consumption in the manufacturing process

4. 80% less water consumption during the lifecycle of eco-friendly packaging than single-use containers

5. Less product damage and waste when used for perishables.

Why Are Sustainable Takeout Containers Important for the Food Industry’s Future?

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?

When we talk about the sustainable future of the food service industry, the adoption of sustainable practices in all areas is very significant. And here are the reasons why the sustainability of the food industry is dependent on the use of eco-friendly takeout containers:

Consumer demand for sustainable products

The consumer is the reason for any business concern, and many decisions of any business entity are just because of consumer demand. Similarly, the food industry has to cope with the consumer demand for sustainable products in the future. The Global Sustainability study by Simon-Kucher & Partners revealed that more than one-third of global consumers want sustainable products over non-sustainable options.

Cost-effectiveness and efficiency for businesses

Despite the high cost of manufacturing reusable, recyclable, and compostable packaging for business uses, the eco-friendly options increase the cost-effectiveness and overall efficiency of businesses in the food industry. It increases the sustainability of the business’s supply chain, and the costs come at breakeven consumers reuse or recycle reusable takeout containersmers.

Regulatory requirements for sustainability

Restaurant owners and stakeholders of the hospitality industry will have to adopt sustainable business practices, including using sustainable takeout containers. The World Commission on Environment and Development requires businesses to focus on sustainability in their business strategies and activities to enhance human and natural resources.

Environmental and social responsibility

Every business has a social and environmental responsibility to ensure that its operations are not harmful to social surroundings, environments, and life on the earth. The inability of non-sustainable takeout containers to decompose adds to the landfill and chemical build-up in the water, posing a threat to life on earth and underwater.

Therefore, the food industry stakeholders will have to adopt sustainable packaging solutions as a part of their environmental and social responsibility.

Challenges and Barriers to the Adoption of Sustainable Takeout Containers

Challenges and Barriers to the Adoption of Sustainable Takeout Containers

There are several barriers and challenges the industries are facing in the adoption of sustainable packaging solutions at a large scale. Some of the staggering challenges are as follows:

Cost and affordability

Traditional plastic packaging is cheap to manufacture and is also affordable for consumers. A survey conducted by Raconteur highlighted that43% of brandsfind the packaging cost the biggest hindrance in the adoption of sustainable containers. The cost of manufacturing reusable and recyclable packaging containers is higher when compared to single-use containers.

Availability and accessibility

Availability and accessibility of sustainable packaging solutions are also the challenges in adopting sustainable practices. Several research studies and scientific studies have also highlighted that the limited access to reusable packaging containers and inconvenient returning processes at drop-off points are the most frequent barrier to the adoption of the solution.

Quality and performance

The suppliers and manufacturers of sustainable packaging have to invest additional costs in manufacturing, making it an expensive option. Therefore, many suppliers compromise the quality of reusable containers. The dropped quality will subsequently lead to low performance. Besides, many types of sustainable packaging materials have a low resistance to heat and water.

The challenges in the adoption of sustainable packaging solutions are real and justified. However, there is one type of sustainable packaging that can address all the challenges of the food industry preventing them from using eco-friendly materials.

Bagasse is a byproduct of the sugar industry, and around 34 tons of bagasse can be extracted from 100 tons of sugarcane. Besides, the quality and performance of bagasse containers are also very high, be it temperature resistance, water resistance, or insulation. Also, bagasse containers are readily available and are a more sustainable solution. Therefore, bagasse containers are the best packaging material for the food industry.

Solutions and Innovations for Sustainable Takeout Containers

Why Sustainable Takeout Containers are the Future of the Food Industry?


Considering the challenges of sustainable packaging, here are the solutions the restaurants and suppliers must adopt to encourage the widespread use of sustainable takeout containers:

New materials and technologies

The manufacturers of packaging materials should adopt new materials and technologies. Similarly, work should be done to develop systems and technologies that can reduce the cost of production of sustainable packaging. For instance, bagasse is a byproduct of the sugar industry that is readily available, cost-effective, and fit for the hospitality industry.

Innovative designs and packaging solutions

The cost of eco-friendly packaging solutions needs to be addressed. It can only be done when cost reductions are considered at the designing stage for low material usage. Therefore, innovative and intelligent design can reduce the money spent on the manufacturing process as well as improve the visual appearance of the packaging.

Collaboration and partnerships

A study of the University of Michigan conducted a pilot study to study the impact and cost of sustainable packaging and found that the greenhouse emissions of returning recyclable packaging are higher than single-use containers.

The food industry stakeholders must work with trusted suppliers for cost-effective, sustainable packaging. Additionally, the restaurants should facilitate the consumers to drop off the recyclable or reusable packaging at different assigned locations. It will reduce the environmental impact as well as the cost of a trip to return the containers.


It is the time when consumers are getting more concerned about the sustainability aspects of the products they’re consuming. If we talk about the food industry, a survey highlighted that 2/3rdof diners want restaurant owners to use sustainable takeout containers like bagasse food containers. It implies that the future of the food industry lies in sustainable takeout containers.

Whether you’re at the consumer end or a restaurant, businessowner, you should adopt sustainable packaging by considering all the solutions for addressing the challenges of the adoption. When big brands are still on their way to adopting sustainable takeout containers, local restaurants can also leverage the willingness of consumers to pay more for sustainable products. Be a socially and environmentally responsible business & switch to eco-friendly food packaging like bagasse containers, paper containers, etc.

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