Durham Green ToGo
takeout container service

It feels like Durham. That was my first reaction to The Green ToGo Reusable Container Service when I heard about it from Daria Drake, of The Durham Originals, an ardent environmentalist herself.

Reusable To-Go containers from a collective of participating Durham restaurants and eateries that can be shared, sanitized, and used again and again.


I could immediately see the benefits in the cut down on waste. No matter how recycled the material in the disposable ToGo container a restaurant is using might be, it is still headed for the landfill in the end.(1) If it’s paper, even if it’s recycled, they originally hacked down a tree to get it.


Now I am no fan of Kickstarter. It is easy to loathe the moral hazard of fulfillment. As we know in Durham.(2)

What is interesting in this case is the how far the FAQs attached to this proposal travel beyond the basic premise of a program for reusable ToGo containers.

I had presumed restaurants hand out plastic ToGo containers and because it is a collective, you can bring them back to any participating restaurant. This is true. But also happening; building a drop off bin for every participating restaurant (presumably so that you don’t have to drop off your ToGo container only during operating hours), the purchase of two ELFs equipped with trailers so that as the FAQ puts it, “to have a carbon-neutral means of transporting the GreenToGo boxes to/from the wash facility and restaurants” (ELFs are the legendary Organic Transit bike car hybrid vehicles.) and finally the creation of an App so that Green ToGo boxes can be checked out on your phone or tablet.

So often when a singularly good idea is proposed the developers put it in a silo, failing to consider the totality of the interaction with our collective ecology: to wit an eminent environmentalist who spends a lot of time traveling by commercial aircraft. Here is a group; Green ToGo is brought to you by Don’t Waste Durham under the fiscal sponsorship of Keep Durham Beautiful, that is endeavouring to make the whole process, from start to finish eco-friendly.

Want to see and understand how the program works? Want to get on-board? Want to make sure that your favorite restaurant is on-board—after all it should save them money in the paper costs spent on disposable containers— then come by The Pinhook tonight at 6pm. Meet the founders. Have a chat with like-minded individuals. Relish in a Durham institution like The Pinhook. Grab a slice of the Pie Pushers. Win one of the fabulous door prizes.

Be there and part of a Durham effort as their Kickstarter goes over the top.(3)

Tonight 6pm, 117 West Main Street, Durham.

Restaurants Already On-Board
Old Havana Sandwich Shop
Luna Rotisserie
Bull City Burger & Brew
KoKyu Na’Mean
Durham Co-Op Market
Bagel Bar
Alpaca Rotisserie Chicken
Saltbox Seafood Joint
The Original Q-Shack
Ninth St. Bakery
Cocoa Cinnamon
Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop
The Boot
Geer St. Garden
Vegan Flava Cafe
Happy & Hale
Bull McCabe’s
Pie Pushers Pizza
Dain’s Place
Oval Park Grille
Scratch Bakery

Screengrab from the Kickstarter video

Screengrab from the Kickstarter video

(1) As the Durham County Solid Waste Manager explains in the Kickstarter video, Durham produces a massive warehouse sized mountain of trash every day.

(2)There is no doubt moral hazard in investing in any private corporation, be it through stocks, partnership, or other maneuver. The difference is, unlike Kickstarter, there is a body of law and case history that offers greater opportunity to understand the risk and how adverse events and results might be adjudicated. Albeit, given the direction of Tort case law, the slope gets slippery every day.

(3)I was at The Pinhook when their crowd-fundraising campaign went over the top. The throwing down was most raucous.

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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