When the sustainability initiative ‘Island Eats’ launched in May of 2022, there were five eateries across the island of Martha’s Vineyard that were ready to embrace the reuse concept and serve their food in these custom-made reusable takeout containers. Made from recycled stainless steel, Island Eats’ bowls give restaurants and customers alike the chance to make a more environmentally friendly choice for their takeout, skipping the disposable containers in favor of this more sustainable alternative.
Customers at Black Sheep and Katama General Store in Edgartown, MV Salads and Pawnee House in Oak Bluffs, and Bobby B’s in Vineyard Haven were able to purchase an Island Eats membership, giving them access to the network of reusable bowls for their takeout orders.
Meanwhile, Island Eats operates in the background, ensuring the eateries all have sufficient bowls on hand to meet demand, collecting used bowls and transporting them to a commercial washing facility where they are professionally washed and sanitized. By the end of the summer, Island Eats had welcomed four new restaurants into the program, Aalia’s and Juice by the Sea in Oak Bluffs, Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven, and the first up-island restaurant, Chilmark Tavern in Chilmark. As of publication, there are now 12 restaurants with plans for at least 3 more to join before the beginning of this summer.
The entire concept of Island Eats is remarkably simple – “Eat, Return, Repeat.” The program was designed with the goal of making it easy for customers to make a more sustainable choice, and embrace reuse. The home-grown reusable takeout container system has become remarkably successful, growing to over 200 customer members in 2022 and welcoming new members each week. Memberships are available for purchase on their website: www.islandeatsmv.com and will soon be available through their reuse app too.
Why are Reusables Important?
Most takeaway containers are crafted from plastic, plastic-lined cardboard, or compostable and biodegradable materials. What many people don’t realize is that over 95% of plastic is never recycled, the plastic lining on cardboard prevents it from being recyclable, and the so-called compostable containers can only be composted in a commercial composting facility. If an eatery or home doesn’t have access to a commercial composting facility, these containers end up in landfill, where they won’t break down because landfills don’t reach the temperature necessary for composting.
In recent years, single-use packaging items have become a significant problem on Martha’s Vineyard. The streets, beaches, and trails have a litter problem. Many residents and visitors have started to accept the situation as unavoidable because it is an inconvenient situation to overcome. However, commitment and small steps can help the situation which is exactly what inspired Island Eats. The reusable bowls used by Island Eats can be reused thousands of times, helping to reduce plastic, waste and Co2 in the environment. Ultimately, this initiative is one way that islanders and visitors can protect the island’s environment and work towards a more sustainable future.
How Much Does It Cost to Join Island Eats?
Island Eats is currently offering early-bird membership for the 2023 year for $60. With your membership, you’ll be able to enjoy take-out food more sustainably all year-long at any of Island Eats’ partner restaurants across the island. as many times as you want for no additional charge.
If you want to keep Martha’s Vineyard beautiful while helping the planet, why not join Island Eats?
For more information on protecting the island’s natural beauty join one of the guided walks with the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission or attend one of the many programs of the Trustees of the Reservations.