Tiffin Indian Cuisine Practices Sustainability with Reusable Takeout Containers

Posted on Thursday April 29, 2021

Tiffin Indian Cuisine, an Elkins Park staple since 2009, took a big step in sustainability in March 2021.  Seeing the significant amount of single use containers used every year, the restaurant’s leadership had been looking into reusable options for their takeout containers for several years. 

President and CEO Munish Narula said, “We ran many tests on many different containers over the years but they all failed to hold up on the things that are most important - keeping the food hot and fresh inside a container that doesn't leak. The restaurants even looked at investing in actual "tiffin" containers that are made of metal, but Narula said the cost was prohibitive. Finally, in January, they found the containers we were looking for, and two months later, launched the program.  “After a year of everyone dealing with an explosion of packaging, we felt the idea was something our customers would embrace,” said Narula.

Named “Return2Tiffin,” this program will cut down on plastic waste, in line with the Waste Reduction goal of Cheltenham’s 2013 Sustainability Plan.  The containers are made of highly durable polypropylene, which can be washed, sanitized, and reused up to 1,000 times.  Narula said they had many discussions with the manufacturer about the durability of the containers and they will be monitoring them closely to make sure they are holding up to the restaurant’s standards. 

We have eyes on every container as they are being washed and sanitized. If any container shows signs of breakage or excessive wear, it will be pulled from use,” Narula said.

Customers can now opt for the eco-friendly containers through Tiffin’s online ordering site only. After enjoying the food, consumers are asked to rinse the containers, keep the order labels on the top, and return within 4 weeks, either by dropping them off at the restaurant or, for more regular customers, returning them with a delivery driver at the time of their next order. The order label contains the order information, which allows Tiffin to check the containers back in. Customers will be charged $3.50 per container if they do not return them within 4 weeks, or if they want to keep the containers.

You can find more information about the new program at  Narula stated that so far, about 55% of online customers have chosen the containers, and feels the number is growing since the rollout of the program.

The reusable containers are available at all Tiffin restaurants and so far, several customers have expressed positive remarks about the initiative:

"Everything was great! Love the reusable containers." – Evan, Elkins Park

"Food quality was everything we have come to expect.  I think it is truly fantastic you are providing a returnable container option." – Mike, Mt Airy

"The reusable to-go containers are wonderful! We are so very happy to reduce plastic waste and we are reminded to order fresh food!" – Sam, Elkins Park

You might also like...