Two Vancouver companies offer solutions to reduce single-use takeout packaging

The 12th Annual Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Conference takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Vancouver Convention Center.


Single-use packaging is seen as a contributing scourge to the ecological crisis, but a couple of local startups want to change that concept, one reusable container at a time.

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. and ShareWares are Vancouver companies that are working to normalize the circular economy, which will have a significant impact on reducing waste.


Cody Irwin is the CEO and founder of sharegoodsthat has been associated with coffee shops and restaurants, such as Tim Hortons and body energy clubto implement a loan system for reusable cups.

Irwin ran a corporate food delivery company before the COVID-19 pandemic. But like so many other businesses, it was unable to survive due to declining customers. Still, he had all the infrastructure set up, so he switched gears to a new company, one that contributes to the circular economy in Metro Vancouver.

the idea is similar at a deposit fee on soda cans.

With coffee cups, the consumer asks to have their drink in a loaner cup from one of the participating companies, pays a small reuse fee, and then returns it to one of the collection bins.

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To find the nearest container, the consumer can use a mobile phone to scan the QR code on the cup.

ShareWares then collects the cups, washes them and inspects them. They then scan the mug and reimburse the consumer via electronic transfer. Clean cups go back to cafeterias to be reused over and over again.

ShareWares also has other services, such as providing reusable containers for offices, events, food trucks, and supermarkets. They also offer a laundering service and are expanding to offer reusable take-out plates.

Irwin said it’s about normalizing the culture so people get more used to borrowing bins than using single-use items, which are headed for landfill.

“It’s about developing an awareness. People think ‘oh, I have a paper cup in my hand, but everyone else has a reusable cup’. It becomes social, and then that starts to turn the needle and starts to change behaviors,” Irwin said.

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Next week, Hawkins will speak at Metro Vancouver’s 12th Annual Zero Waste Conference, which will be held Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Vancouver Convention Center.

The conference brings together business leaders, community innovators and policymakers to discuss new ideas to make the circular economy a reality, one in which there is no waste.

online registration will close for Metro’s Zero Waste Conference on Tuesday at noon.

Also speaking at the conference is Jason Hawkins, CEO and co-founder of It’s on a mission to make it not only easy to order reusable containers with food or drink to go, but something that people do automatically.

“How can we make reuse the default instead of just an option? Because I think where we are going is that we need to remove the barriers to adopting a more sustainable packaging solution,” he said.

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“It can’t just be an option for unconditional zero waste… we need this to be ubiquitous in society.”

Diners can register and use the app. If they order from a delivery service like DoorDash, they can choose from a restaurant like Earls and then select the reusable stainless steel container option. Members simply enter their reusable ID number and the food comes prepared on those plates so there is no waste. The cost to join is $5 per month.

The consumer then drops off the containers within 14 days at any participating location to be sanitized and reused. The company has almost 100 locations, most of which are in the greater Vancouver area, but the plan is to expand around BC, Canada and the US.

“Waste is like the gateway drug to climate change, that’s how I look at it,” Irwin said.

Hawkins made a similar comment, saying climate change and biodiversity loss are connected to society’s waste and throwaway culture.

“Many experts suggest that reuse in a circular economy is the most sustainable and potentially most cost-effective way forward,” said Hawkins.

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