COIL Stories

Fill it Forward

Amplifying the impact of every reuse with interactive technology, charitable giving, and sustainable products. 

Fill it Forward is on a mission to inspire reuse and believe that reuse is a simple act of generosity that shows love to people and the planet. This means selling reusable products connected to the Fill it Forward app that helps users track environmental impact while also giving back to charity projects every time they reuse. With the help of COIL Activate, Fill it Forward was able to strengthen their Food Service Container Rental program that allows food service establishments to track the rental and return of reusable containers.

The Impact

Environmental Metrics: Fill it Forward provides food service establishments with the environmental diversion metrics of their program. Every rental and return helps eliminate a single-use item that would otherwise have ended up in landfill, and the aggregated metrics allows the schools to celebrate and share their collective impact. 

Reducing Waste: Since its inception, the rental container program has been
implemented at Vanderbilt University, Michigan State University and Boston College. At Vanderbilt, the rental container program allowed Dining Services to move away entirely from offering single-use take-out containers. Now, if a student wants to take food to-go, the only option is to rent a reusable container.

How they made it work

In the Activate program, Fill it Forward identified the challenges and complexity of supporting unique food service establishments in successfully implementing a reusable container program. It became clear that the technology Fill it Forward developed to track containers in and out was only a part of the puzzle to be solved. Success quickly shifted to supporting clients in areas such as stakeholder alignment, reusable container fleets, policy, setup, and program implementation.

Jamie Draves, Founder and CEO, with Quinta Quinoa products
Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario