Canadian restaurants use NFC to track reusable food containers

Ekko drop box for reusable NFC food container
RECYCLE: Customers scan the NFC tag on the container and place it in the drop box to complete the return

Customers ordering takeaway food from eight restaurants in the Canadian city of Waterloo can now opt to receive their order in a reusable and recyclable food container embedded with an NFC tag that allows the service provider to track each container throughout the reuse cycle.

Once they have finished with a container, customers return it to a drop box where they scan the NFC tag on a reader, informing Ekko — the Waterloo-based startup that developed and supplies the containers — that it is ready for collection, cleaning and reuse.

“[The NFC tags] allow us to track the containers as they leave the restaurant and then when a customer returns them. We can also track them at the sanitisation station,” Ekko co-founder Crystalle Kruis told local media outlet Communitech News.

“Knowing where containers are at every point in time is something that has been a huge problem with some of the business models we’ve looked at.”

A short video shows a customer using the NFC tag when returning a container:

The reusable food containers are available at the Abe Erb Waterloo, Ambrosia Corner Bakery, Clementine Catering, Gayuma, Queen of Hearts Tea House, S&V Uptown, Underground Flavour Group, and Wooden Boat Food Company restaurants and food outlets in Waterloo.

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