Loblaw & Friendlier: Introducing Reusable Take Home Containers for Hot Food

CPP Roadmap Target #2

Project Timeline

June – December 2022

The Circular Solution 

In response to a growing demand to eliminate single-use plastics in stores, Loblaw ran a six-month closed-loop recycling pilot in Guelph, ON, Canada with a Friendlier Company in 4 stores. Customers were offered the option to have their hot ready-made food packaged in a Friendlier reusable container for a small deposit ($0.50 – 1.00). Customers were then able to claim the deposit with the Friendlier platform and return the container to any participating location. Friendlier picks up the returns and sanitizes them for reuse. This supports the circular transition as the vendor offers a turnkey model that encourages customers to return the reusable containers.


  • ScaleThe ability of vendors to support cross-country logistics is a barrier.
  • Regional Focused – Many of the vendors we have looked at in the reusables space are regionally focused and don’t have presence yet in multiple markets (or a presence in Canada yet in some cases).
  • Financial model – as it stands, there is a challenge with the proposed financial model.
  • Additional labour – we need to understand the implications of additional labour associated with new programs at store level (e.g. sometimes, reuse options present additional labels at the cash lane – including the need to scan extra barcodes).
  • Food safety – Food safety issues were also a major consideration for reusable containers.

Next Steps

Loblaw is planning to expand the pilot and are in the process of putting together a GoForward plan for 2023 and beyond.