Restaurants partner with city of Ann Arbor on reusable container pilot program

Credit: Matt Giles

ANN ARBOR – Several local restaurants launched the Ann Arbor Reduce, Reuse, Return (A2R3) Reusable Container Program on Tuesday in partnership with the city of Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Miss Kim, El Harissa and Detroit Street Filling Station will be participating in the pilot program throughout the month.

“Partnering with the City of Ann Arbor allowed us to bring this idea, which we’ve been testing, researching and developing for years, to life,” head chef and managing partner of Zingerman’s Delicatessen Rodger Bowser said in a release. “This program is the next step in our quest to further reduce single-use plastics and our way of challenging the way people interact with restaurants.

“Thank you to the city for investing in this program to help give the program traction and to scale it to four different businesses.”

The program is part of the inaugural Ann Arbor Green Fare and A2Zero Week in celebration of the city’s first anniversary of its carbon neutrality program.

Read: Sustainability, locally sourced food to be focus of inaugural Ann Arbor Green Fare

“The Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability is taking a research and development approach to the reusable container pilot program,” sustainability and innovations manager of the city of Ann Arbor, Missy Stults, said in a release. “We’re committed to finding a way to reduce single-use plastics and are excited to learn from this pilot so that we can launch a full-fledged program available to all interested Ann Arborites.”

Read: A2ZERO Week to celebrate one year anniversary of Ann Arbor’s carbon neutrality plan

Each restaurant is using the containers differently.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen will be using them for its At Home take-and-heat meals program while the Detroit Street Filling Station will package its Del Burger orders in the reusable containers.

Customers will find a QR code with each order that includes instructions on how to return the container. Once guests return their container to all participating restaurants and complete a return survey, they will unlock a special discount.

The pilot program’s containers are 100 percent BPA-free, NSF-certified, reusable and recyclable and highly durable. They are also microwave safe for reheating, stackable, leak-resistant and dishwasher safe for 1,000 uses.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.