Takeout Container (Wax or Plastic-Lined Paperboard)

Landfill (Trash) Cart

Certified-compostable takeout containers go in the compost cart, but those with plastic liners need to go in the landfill cart. 

Not sure? Look for a “certified compostable” label on the container.


Do Not Recycle

Paperboard takeout containers are lined with wax or plastic to prevent them from leaking. The lining can’t be separated, so these containers can’t be recycled. Put them in the garbage.

Ways to Reduce


Bring Your Own To-Go Container

When dining out, bring a reusable to-go container so that you can bring leftovers home sustainably.

Split Meals

Eating with a friend or family member? Share your meal so there’s no need to take leftovers home.

Use It as a Plate

Make your meal cleanup one step easier by transforming your takeout container into a plate. Learn how on Lifehacker.com.

Reusable Packaging For Businesses

Check out Upstream’s catalog of reusable packaging and unpackaging innovators that provide ways for consumers to obtain products, mostly food and beverages, in returnable, reusable, or refillable packaging – or they deliver products to consumers unpackaged altogether.

Did You Know?

Chinese Takeout Pail Inspired by Japanese Origami

Commonly called a Chinese takeout box, this type of takeout container was invented in 1894 and originally called a “paper pail.” Inspired by Japanese origami, it is created from one piece of folded material, with a small wire handle attached to the top for carrying. Learn more about the paper pail’s history at Eater.com.

"Forever Chemicals" in Paper Products

For years, manufacturers have used chemicals called PFAS to coat paper wraps and boxes because it kept moisture from leaking through. Now that those chemicals are known to be toxic “forever chemicals” and transfer from the packaging into the food and then our bodies, certain companies are phasing them out of use. However, some companies still use them, and the alternatives haven’t been tested for safety. Read more from c&en.