Dabba Consigne is a community of restaurants and professionals striving to end the huge amount of waste produced as a result of disposable takeout containers. Co-founders Marion and Caroline are using Dabba—this reusable takeout container service—as a way to support local actors in their sustainable consumption and waste reduction journeys.
- In France in 2018, 160 million meals were delivered and the delivery/takeout service market grew by 20%.
- 180,000 tons of takeout packaging are thrown out each year in France.
- These kinds of packaging are not all recyclable, and when they are, are not always separated from other trash by consumers.
- Takeout waste also often contributes to littering, as public garbage bins tend to overflow.
Dabba offers their customers a turnkey solution in completely avoiding disposable takeout containers. They make it easier for restaurants to organize deposits, restocks, and container washing. Dabba is a local, eco-friendly, and professional service that doesn’t exist yet in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France (southeast).
Did you know?
Dabba means lunchbox in Hindi. Dabbawalas is a widespread lunchbox delivery and return system that delivers hot lunches from homes and restaurants to working people in India, especially in Mumbai. The lunchboxes are picked up in the late morning, delivered predominantly using bicycles and trains, and returned empty in the afternoon.
Restaurants get delivered glass containers from Dabba (made in France). They are restocked regularly. Dabba then collects the dirty containers brought back by customers, washes them at high temperatures and brings back clean containers.
Customers order meals from any restaurant in the Dabba network. It of course comes in the reusable glass container. Once finished, customers bring the container back to any restaurant in the network in exchange for a new meal or a token.
As of January 2021, there are 21 restaurants in the Dabba network. For now, they are all based in Grenoble, but Marion and Caroline plan to expand to the entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, starting with Lyon, Chambéry/Annecy, and Saint-Etienne. They also are developing a scalable mobile app using open source technology that will be the system easier for professionals and customers.
Dabba Consigne clearly has the potential for global impact. In 2022, according to French law, the entire restaurant industry will have to use reusable boxes to deliver food to customers. This type of regulation is happening in countries all over the world. Dabba is tapping into this market early-on, by providing reusable dishes, washing them, and creating their own network.
The $2,000 micro-grant from Stardust Startups will be used to purchase hundreds of new, reusable containers to keep up with the expansion to new restaurants.