Reduce. Reuse. Repeat.

Oct 28, 2021

Photo by Erik Kabik

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt, and few more so than those in the foodservice industry.

Lockdowns and reduced dine-in capacity necessitated many restaurants to focus heavily on takeout services to survive. The adjustment significantly increased the number of used food containers finding their way into our homes and filling our rubbish bins. 

Trash cans at beaches also saw a significant increase in used-food-container waste, a great deal of it blown into the ocean. The problem existed before the pandemic as well, with plastic takeout waste noted as the eighth most-common debris found on Hawaii’s beaches. The surge in takeout during the pandemic just made matters worse.

Recognizing this growing challenge, Ulupono Initiative, through the Ulupono Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation, awarded a $25,000 grant this month to Zero Waste Oahu Full Cycle reusable container program.

Full Cycle is a reusable takeout container service aimed at reducing takeout wastes by providing restaurants with reusable containers, which Full Cycle collects, washes and redistributes to participating restaurants.

As one of our key sector areas, Ulupono Initiative supports efforts to reduce and better manage Hawaii’s waste products. By providing restaurants and other food vendors the option of utilizing reusable containers, Zero Waste’s Full Cycle program reduces the number of single-use containers entering Hawaii landfills. The result is a reduction in economic resources and land capital needed to manage waste, which can instead be used in other areas such as food production and energy.

For more information about Zero Waste Oahu, visit