Green to go initiative in Durham, NC

Many sports fans know that Durham is the proud home to Duke University or the site of the cult sports and life lesson movie “Bull Durham” with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. Some may know that Durham is one of the three cities that surround the Research Triangle Park which houses many global firms’ headquarters, marketing or research departments. But, it is now getting some good press for a grassroots initiative called “Green to Go.”

What is “Green to Go?” In short, it is a building partnership with 25 local restaurants to replace Styrofoam or plastic to-go or leftover containers with a reusable and durable plastic one. The idea is instead of throwing away a one-time product, it can be replaced by one that can be used for a 1,000 times. With islands of plastic in the ocean and spilling out of landfills, this is a much needed innovation.

How does it work? It requires a $25 membership, but let’s you check out a spill-proof container with your first order from one of the 25 participating restaurants. You simply return the cleaned container on your next order to any of the 25 participants and get a newly sanitized one. This is how the food inspectors are kept happy.

On the website link provided below, they have 507 subscribers and 1,522 measured uses of the containers. But, this is a replicable idea that will likely catch on with more notoriety. The website includes the PBS Newshour piece that I first became aware of their efforts. Please let others know about this and check it our for yourself.

14 thoughts on “Green to go initiative in Durham, NC

    • Thanks Roger. To me, it seems our future must rely on the ingenuity of those closest to the ground. This is how it usually plays out, but the federal government used to be a better enabler and funder than it is now.

      • Indeed Keith, why spend money on infrastructure when you can try and waste it on an unnecessary military parade? (Thank goodness that fell through)

      • Roger, quite true. A book every politician should read is “That used to be us: how America fell behind in the world it created and how it can come back” by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. It speaks of how America blended three types of investment to do big things – government, private and venture capital investing. The government often was a blend of local, stare and federal money.

        David Smick in his book “The World is Curved” notes innovation is portable. So, it behooves government to help promote and keep it here. With a bent on cutting taxes, the US government has forgotten that we need to pay for things and industry cannot replace this funding as they owe a ROI to shareholders and may pass on low or no ROI opportunities. Keith

  1. Note to Readers: I saw another neat idea on PBS Newshour. One of the worries for solar power farms is the grass growing above the panels. One farmer, who is leasing his fields, decided to use his sheep to do the mowing. He noted it has to be sheep as cows are too big and goats will eat the wires. But, he said what makes it work are the guard dogs. Absent the dogs, the sheep are exposed to foxes and eagles. To this day, I did not realize an eagle could take out a sheep.

  2. Dear Kieth,

    Thanks for sharing this brilliant idea which is being implemented in Durham, NC with “Green To Go.” Anything which can reduce the amount of plastics in use is a step in the right direction.

    This is something that can be easily copied elsewhere.

    Hugs, Gronda

  3. Keith,

    I saw the PBS Newshour segment on Green To Go and was very impressed! I’m hoping to bring this to our city.
    I share a similar mission with a product I invented to reduce waste, especially single-use bottles.

    Green is the way to Go!
    FB/IG/Twitter: MySipsee

    • Thanks Dan. Good luck with your efforts. I had colleague named Dan Garcia many moons ago. He is a very good compensation consultant. Thanks for stopping by. Keith

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