Frequently Asked Questions

The Future is Green. Here’s What’s Up!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Future is Green. Here’s What’s Up!

What is the GreenToGo service?

GreenToGo is a reusable take-out container service that will reduce the amount of trash that goes to our landfills and improve quality of life for the Durham community. GreenToGo boxes are durable and long-lasting take-out containers which are 100% reusable and checked out, similar to checking out a library book (use it and return it when you’re done). They are washed and sanitized in commercial dishwashers meeting health code standards. The boxes are used in similar sustainable container services across the country, replacing the need for the single-use disposable containers (paper, plastic, etc) that are typically used in most restaurants.

How does it work?

The GreenToGo service uses a check-in and check-out system for boxes. Each time you visit a GreenToGo restaurant, you use your GreenToGo mobile app to check out a clean box for your takeout or leftovers. You later return (and check in) the used box to a GreenToGo drop-off bin at any participating restaurant so it can be washed and sanitized in a commercial dishwasher, and then returned to the restaurants, ready for the next customer. Check out the STEP-BY-STEP instructions for the exact process.

Is there a cost to participate in GreenToGo? What does that cost cover?

It costs $25 per year for a 1-box GreenToGo membership. Your membership includes the GreenToGo mobile app for your phone and a full year of GreenToGo check-out/check-in privileges at participating restaurants in Durham! If you think you’ll need more than one GreenToGo box at a time, you can easily upgrade your membership to a 2-, 3-, or 4-box membership using the GreenToGo mobile app.

Membership fees help support the cost of buying the GreenToGo boxes, building a return station for each restaurant, and supporting publicity, operations, and management of the GreenToGo service in our community. We also plan to hire employees at a living wage, and purchase two Elf Organic Transit vehicles with trailers to have a carbon-neutral means of transporting the GreenToGo boxes to/from the wash facility and restaurants! And finally, we’ll need to pay rent for some office space for our team.

What is the GreenToGo box made of? Who makes it? Are these new?

GreenToGo boxes are a product called Eco-Takeouts, made by a company called G.E.T. Enterprises. They are made of very thick #5 plastic, and they are designed to last through thousands of washes in high-heat commercial dishwashers. They have been in use for many years in university dining halls across the country (including NCCU, UNC, NCSU, and Meredith College), and also in Portland and San Francisco in the GOBox program. Durham wants to be the first city on the East Coast with a reusable/returnable takeout container service!

Where do I return my GreenToGo?

Return your GreenToGo box to any participating restaurant or to a business partner check-in stations at The Scrap Exchange or Fullsteam Brewery.

What if my GreenToGo box is dirty?

Don’t worry, you may return your GreenToGo box dirty or clean. We do ask that customers at least rinse out their GreenToGo box before returning it to remove any food particles and make our return stations more pleasant for all!

What if I lose my GreenToGo box?

The first time you lose one, we’ll be glad to reset your account for you for free. After that, the lost box replacement fee is $5. E-mail us at if you need assistance with a lost box. 

What should I do if my GreenToGo box gets broken or damaged?

No problem! Just return your box to any participating restaurant or public drop site. We will remove the broken box from circulation.

I have a bunch of GreenToGo boxes at home. What should I do?

No problem! Just return your boxes to any participating restaurant or public drop site. Make sure you check in ALL of the boxes, so that you get full credit back into your account!

Can I put my GreenToGo box in the microwave?

The GreenToGo box is considered microwave-safe. That said, it is generally better to avoid microwaving food in any plastic container, just to be on the safe side. But if you’re comfortable microwaving food in plastic containers, then this will work just fine. It is made of #5 plastic and is BPA-free!

What does the Health Department have to say about GreenToGo boxes?

Durham’s County Health Department prohibits restaurants and other food vendors from handling or serving food in a customer’s personal container. However, the GreenToGo service avoids that issue, because GreenToGo boxes are washed and sanitized in commercial dishwashers before being provided to customers. We follow the GreenToGo Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which we developed in partnership with the Environmental Health Division of the Durham County Health Department.

What if I want to check out MORE THAN ONE box at a time?

You can easily upgrade your membership to have multiple boxes. Just log into your account and go to “My Subscriptions.”

What restaurants are participating?

We are very proud to announce our list of restaurant participants. We have capped the number of participating restaurants for now. Since this is our first year of operations, we want to make sure every kink is ironed out before we expand. But don’t worry – we’re excited to bring on more restaurants in 2018 and beyond!

What if I want my favorite restaurant to participate?

The best way to encourage restaurants to participate is to let them know that you, a loyal customer, would like to see GreenToGo in their establishment! Direct them to our “Restaurants Join” page to answer any questions! There’s a form on that page for interested restaurants to reach out to us and get going with GreenToGo!