Blog #46: Lock-down again - with eco-boxes for take-out food? 

November 25, 2021
Monika Weber-Fahr
It’s lock-down time again in Austria! Our hearts go out to everyone who is sick and needs care, and to all of those doing heroic work in rescue services, hospitals and intensive care units. Most of us will be lucky enough to only be affected by the rules restricting contact, shopping, restaurant visits and entertainment, and hopefully our jobs are still intact or being supported, but even all that is difficult for many, and loneliness can be hard to bear. As we get together as a community to find our paths through these trying times, there is one aspect of the lock-down that often gets overlooked but is worthwhile considering: More of us work from home, more of us resort to picking up our meals from restaurants, and the packaging coming with these meals ends up clogging our waste bins. In Austria, packaging waste generated by households has grown by some  20% through the lockdown situation over the past 18 months, even though, of course, commercially generated waste went down somewhat at the same time. Vienna’s competent and much beloved department for waste collection - the 48ers - are apparently weathering the storms well. But it’s still up to us - and our choices - to actively keep the waves of waste at bay. One way to do so is to take a good look at where you are ordering your meals!
This blog will introduce you to three opportunities available in Vienna that will make it easier for you to find and select your meals in ways that keep the waste you create at bay.
Firstly, there is SKOONU. A startup that launched about a year ago, SKOONU provides their partner restaurants with a choice of re-usable containers and dishes; restaurants that sign up will then provide you with your food in the SKOONU dishes, and you get to return them after you had your meal - not only at the restaurant where you ordered but also at any other SKOONU partner restaurant. You can find a list of participating restaurants on the SKOONU website. There is also an app that you can use to order directly from any of them; I could not test it myself since I have a US-based phone, but the online reviews look great.
Secondly, there is Vytal. Originally a German start-up, they work across multiple cities and countries and have launched their services here in Vienna this summer. Just like SKOONU, also Vytal has partner restaurants equipped with their re-usable containers and dishes, an app that one can use to order from participating restaurants, and a system that allows you to return your used dishes at any of the participating restaurants within two weeks of using them.  Nice feature of the app: They remind you to bring back the containers that you borrowed when getting your food.  The app has a number of other nice features, such as showing partner restaurants close to you (for pick up), or walking you through the steps for using lieferando through their app. I tried it, and it works effortlessly.

Foto: The yummie mediterranean food I orderd through Vytal came in firm plastic boxes that I now get to return at any participating partner restaurants (or where it came from).  

Thirdly, there are a number of specific restaurants and services committed to deploying re-usable boxes that they will take back. One of them is the webrestaurant  of CateringsolutionsGbmH; they have a set menu with 5-6 choices each day, and you need to pre-order a few days ahead, but they deliver food all across Vienna. Another option is the vegetarian restaurant VEGIRANT in the 9th district; their food will also arrive in multi-use containers (they deliver as of five orders, I believe). And if you want to think beyond packaging but also consider ecologically sourced food: Restaurants like iss mich!** Bio-Catering und Lieferservic and Rita bringt’s make not only an effort in terms of the packaging, and they use bicycles for delivery services, but they also source only eco-agri products for their meals.
So there are plenty of choices for you while in lockdown, and at multiple price levels. Want to try something new? Go for it - and tell us how you liked it!
Inspired? Thoughts or reactions? Or ideas for forthcoming blogs?  We look forward to hearing from you - best via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..