By WFAE’s Mike Andrews
Update: Remember when Leftover Love was just an idea? Well Charlotte White’s plan to reduce the use of Styrofoam containers has caught on in Plaza-Midwood. Beginning on Earth Day, (Sunday, April 22) Kickstand Burgers-n-Bar, Loco Lime, and Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar will give you 5% off your bill if you bring your own container for leftovers. It’s not surprising to see this take shape in one of Charlotte’s more environmentally-conscious neighborhoods, so maybe this is the beginning of something bigger.
When I go out to eat, I want to get my money’s worth. I avoid smaller entreés and calorie-counting meals because I know that I’ll want those leftovers the next day. So when Charlotte White contacted us with a proposal of a program called Leftover Love, I knew it would be right up my alley.
Make no mistake – Leftover Love isn’t about what’s in the box – it’s about the box itself. “The problem that the Leftover Love initiative is trying to address is the use of outdated materials, such as Styrofoam, for take home containers in restaurants,” says Charlotte. “Speaking from a strict business sense, the reasons should be obvious as to why one would want to solve this issue: the solution costs nothing and the solution also adds a savings.”
The savings? Penny-pinching patrons (like myself) would get a percentage off their bill when they bring in their own container for the leftovers. This would reduce the restaurant’s use of Styrofoam and keep disposable containers out of the trash.
The idea might not be novel, but that means it’s already caught on in certain places in America. Charlotte told me about the restaurant in California that gave her the idea: “it was a small local Indian cuisine place that did it. Even though we only saved like five bucks, it struck me as something that could work everywhere.”
“This really seems too easy to me,” said Charlotte. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s Styrofoam, cardboard, or tinfoil. If we can reduce the use of any materials, everyone wins.”
Even though there are many restaurants in town that use paper or recyclable plastic take-home containers, this initiative could not only lighten your trash bag, but also promote business around Charlotte. Taking the family out for dinner could be more common during the week if it was cheaper and guaranteed leftovers for the next day.
So far there aren’t any restaurants in Charlotte that have adopted this initiative, but Charlotte White is hoping that it will eventually catch on.
Considering the fact that this is in-the-making, what do you think would make it better? Would you consider bringing your container from home? What if there was a different incentive? Let us know!