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  • Writer's pictureSophia Wang

ReTakeOut Nonprofit

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Maybe you've seen the recent article by NPR on the state of plastic recycling in the United States. Citing a report from Greenpeace, the article lets us know that it's not good news. Even though we've all been trained to put plastic containers into the recycling bin, the amount of plastic actually turned into new things has fallen to a new low of around 5%. The rest is going to landfills. While it's very cheap and easy to produce new plastic, it’s very expensive to collect and sort plastic for recycling. There are thousands of different types of plastic that can’t be melted down together and few markets for used plastic exist. How can we reduce plastic waste then? The 3 R's of sustainability are REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE, in order of importance. Legislation banning single-use plastic can help reduce new plastic trash. Reusing plastic when feasible will also help keep plastic out of the landfill, and here's where a new non-profit comes in.

As a 501(c)(3), ReTakeout's mission is to reduce plastic pollution by collecting used plastic takeout containers and repurposing them by donating them to individuals and organizations that reuse them to help feed the hungry in the metro Atlanta area. Starting in 2020, when my family began to order more takeout food due to COVID, I noticed we were accumulating a large number of plastic takeout containers that were in perfectly good condition. We were able to reuse some of them, but the containers were coming in far faster than we needed. I also heard about people in the neighborhood who were cooking food in their homes for the homeless and needed plastic containers to deliver the food in. By putting these ideas together, ReTakeOut was born.

ReTakeOut obtains used takeout containers that are clean, dry, and leak-proof with resealable lids from individuals in several ways: people drop them off, volunteers pick them up from people's homes, and donation drives. The containers are then sorted and donated to individuals and organizations that prepare food to feed the hungry. Packaged takeout utensils, which many restaurants provide to customers who do not need them when they are eating at home, are also collected. So far, ReTakeOut has partnered with The Elizabeth Foundation, Hope Atlanta, Eye Believe Foundation, FoodCommune, and Food4Lives, and almost 800 containers have been collected and donated to these organizations.

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