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imperfect stories / reducing waste / shared mission

Big News: We Can Now Take Your Delivery Box Back!

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, our box return program is on hold for now. We will let our community know when we’re able to take your used boxes again. In the meantime we ask that you either reuse your box around the house or recycle it. 

You asked, we listened.

One of the most common customer requests since we started delivering produce in 2015 has been “Is there any way you can reuse these awesome boxes?”

We’re delighted to share that we’re finally making this happen!

Starting in August 2019, we will be able to take back your Imperfect boxes. What will happen to your box once we take it back? Through our work with food banks across the country, we learned that many of them have to buy thousands of brand new cardboard boxes each week to distribute food. Now, they’ll be able to use your box to distribute food, a solution that will help us reduce our footprint as a company and help our food bank partners save money and more easily feed their communities.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Remove the address sticker.

  • Step 2: Remove the tape.

  • Step 3: Fold the box flat.

  • Step 4: On your delivery day, leave the flat box in the same place you usually receive your delivery. If your box arrived with a gel pack or plastic insulation, you can leave them on top of your flattened box, too.

  • Tip: Make sure your box is protected from any wet weather conditions or condensation from ice packs since wet cardboard can’t be reused or recycled!

If the box can’t be donated, we will recycle it properly for you.

Together, we can help keep over 4 million boxes from going to waste each year. Thanks for helping reduce waste and support food banks!

Still have questions about what to do with your box or the materials in it? Check out our recycling page to learn more about our packaging!

Would you rather just reuse your box instead? Here are 4 impactful ways you can reuse an Imperfect box!

31 Comments

  • Avatar
    Mariah Simeroth
    August 3, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for taking your due responsibility and making strides to reduce waste and resources. Our earth is in such a critical condition right now and more companies need to be stepping up like this! Thank you for setting the example, and for really listening to your customers! My husband and I have always loved Imperfect Produce for its mission, great customer service, and adaptability, and now we love it EVEN MORE!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      Aww, thanks for the support Mariah! We’re lucky to have you in the fight against food waste.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Ann Potocnak
    August 3, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    CAUTION: Two pieces of fruit (a peach and a nectarine) in my last box developed mold within three days of arrival. Mold spores may still be in that box. Unless you all have a means of treating the boxes with an antimicrobial, I don’t want recycled boxes, please!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Paris Organist
      August 6, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      It’s stated here that the reused boxes won’t be used for imperfect customers… it says they will be used at food banks. Plus, can we all be humans and use good judgement or is that no longer possible ? If your fruit and veggies went moldy in the box then dispose properly, if not because you took them out right away and the box is in perfect condition then put it out for re-use , seems pretty simple

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Use your best judgement on whether the box should get reused! Our food bank partners will only be using these boxes to distribute packaged items.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Jean Bush
    August 4, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    In my last order, I got a large onion with some mold on one side. I cut it off & onion was usable, but I don’t want any of your recycled boxes as Ann P mentioned. I will be throwing my box into our recycle bin as I usually do. Thanks anyway.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jaclyn Ricchio
      August 4, 2019 at 8:58 pm

      "Through our work with food banks across the country, we learned that many of them have to buy thousands of brand new cardboard boxes each week to distribute food. Now, they’ll be able to use your box."

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      We trust your judgment whether the boxes are clean enough for reuse by our food bank partners.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Rabbit Robot
    August 4, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    This is awesome! My boxes are always in perfect condition by the time the next one comes so I can’t wait to give this a try.
    I usually also get at least one clear plastic bag in my imperfect box every week and I would be thrilled if I could return these as well as they’re always in good condition when I am done with them.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Andrea Lawler
      August 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Good idea! (I’m in the same boat, regarding those plastic bags)

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      At this point we’re focusing on boxes because we can give them a second life through our food bank partners, but perhaps in the future we’ll be able to take back other packaging.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Erik Olson
    August 5, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    This is such great news! I’ve never been so excited for a marketing blog post. Seriously, though, so glad.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Weston Brown
    August 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Excited to see this! Thank you for making this happen!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks for helping us give these boxes another life!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Andrea Lawler
    August 5, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    So happy to see this! Whenever I buy my produce from Imperfect, the one worry that I’d always had is how these boxes could be upcycled — and, wherever possible, in a meaningful way. This is the best of both worlds! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks for the support, Andrea! We’re excited about it!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Madeline Sumner
    August 6, 2019 at 4:38 am

    Harvest Jubilee – harvestjubileeus.com

    Organic salad, baby/kid food and smoothies served in Mason Jars/jars. The jars are delivered to you in insulated bags, that you keep and set out for new jars on delivery days. Once per week, the jars, and other materials apart of their "reuse system", are collected and reused, after being thoroughly cleaned and sterilized. This company is making strides to reduce waste and is now 95% waste free and is looking to gain customers who are also passionate about this movement and/or looking to join in!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Sounds like a great company!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Duane Hollander
    August 6, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Great! I was bummed that you could not reuse the cool boxs so I used for storage and such. If the box is in good shape interior wise no mold of spoiled foods great if not storage or recycle.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Liz Meyer
    August 6, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    If I pick up my box at my apartment’s mail room, can I still return my box?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 7, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      As long as you leave your flat box in the same spot you usually receive your delivery on your delivery day, it shouldn’t be a problem!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    A French
    August 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    It’s not my judgement that is question it’s the judgment of others that makes me absolutely refuse to agree to use a recycled box. I have enough moldy over ripe produce coming from imperfect produce w/out adding nasty reused boxes that have been "who knows where"? There was an article included w/ this blog that reviewed all the things people try to recycle even after decades of being told how to do it "properly". So you cannot assume that recycled boxes are sanitary. Frankly I cannot understand why a food bank is less deserving of sanitary conditions. Clean boxes for everyone and either recycle them yourself or reuse them along w/ all your Amazon boxes. Amazon isn’t guilt ridden about their boxes. Can we not get so stressed about a box. If you cannot use it put it in you recycle bin. Have a nice day.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 13, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. To be clear, you will not be receiving a reused or recycled box. The box you get your produce in will remain the same. What is changing is that now we’re offering the option (if you like) to take your boxes back and reuse them at a local food bank so they can distribute packaged food. We share your concern about food safety and agree that food banks deserve clean and safe boxes which is why we can assure you that the reused boxes will not be used to redistribute items with potential contamination concerns like produce and moreover if your box is not clean enough to distribute food, it will be recycled instead. The goal of all of this is to give our customers more sustainable options for their used boxes while helping our food bank partners save money on boxes while distributing more food. We hope this explanation helps clear things up and hope you have a great day, too!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Kimberley Orsten Hooge
    August 14, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    So much this.

    My complex doesn’t run a recycling program, so this is super helpful for us.

    P.S. Haters gonna hate. Especially ones that can’t read properly RE how the boxes will be reused/recycled. I admire that you are trying to be better. Because we ALL need to be better.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      We’re happy that this is helpful for you. We are working hard to reduce our footprint as a growing company and find new ways to be sustainable. We 100% agree that all of us are working to be better stewards of the environment. It’s a process of continuous improvement every day!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Robert Klein
    August 16, 2019 at 5:20 am

    Oh, that’s truly good news. Thank you so much for offering this!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 19, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      You’re so welcome, Robert. We’re excited about this, too! Thanks for your support!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Sarah Walsh
    August 23, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    I flattened my old box and propped it between my door and screen door since it was raining, and I put a small sign on the door indicating that to the delivery person, but the box wasn’t collected. It didn’t look like there was a way to communicate this electronically before the driver came. Please have your delivery people do a cursory check around the delivery spot for notifications like this! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect
      August 26, 2019 at 10:06 pm

      Hey Sarah,

      Thanks so much for sharing this honest feedback with us. We’re sorry that we couldn’t grab that weeks box. Could you kindly send us an email to support@imperfectproduce.com so we can make sure to help make sure this doesn’t happen again? Thanks so much!

      Reply

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