What Happens to Your Used Imperfect Box?

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You asked, we listened. After hearing that you wanted us to find a way to reuse your delivery boxes, we partnered with food banks across the country to give your box a second life. Since we rolled out our Box Return Program nationwide in August, we’ve been delighted to see how many customers are participating. We’ve donated over 150,000 boxes so far this year thanks to your support! 

To show you the impact that these reused boxes are having, we’d like to highlight one Chicago organization that’s reusing Imperfect boxes. Lakeview Pantry is one of Chicago’s largest and longest-operating food pantries. In addition to helping Chicagoans get access to the healthy foods they also have exceptional programs that provide access to mental health and wellness support and social services. We sat down with their Manager of Food Operations, Katie Adams, to learn more about how your Imperfect boxes get a second life in their hands. 

Imperfect Foods: What do you use Imperfect boxes for?

Lakeview Pantry: Primarily, the boxes are used to pack clients’ orders for our Online Market program. Clients place orders online, we pack them at the warehouse, and then we give the clients their boxes when they come for pickup. We also sometimes use the boxes to transport food between the warehouse and our other locations.  

IF: We’d love to learn more about the Online Market Program. Who uses this program and what is beneficial about it?

LP: For busy, working families, traditional food pantries’ long wait times and limited hours can be at odds with their hectic schedules. The Online Market is the first service of its kind in Chicago, offering low-income residents the opportunity to order their groceries from a mobile device or computer and schedule a pickup time. Partnering with the Thierer Family Foundation, a social impact technology funder, we created a solution that increases access to food and social services without sacrificing clients’ valuable time.

IF: That’s amazing! Do you reuse the boxes more than once?

LP: Clients are welcome to bring the boxes back, in which case we can reuse them. Some clients also repack their orders into bags at pickup and return the boxes immediately for use in other orders.

IF: How many boxes have you received from us so far?

LP: 2,850!

IF: Are the box donations saving you money?

LP: If we were to purchase boxes, they would cost at least $1.25 each. So, at our current operating capacity where we can serve 60 households per week and each household gets 5 or more boxes, Imperfects boxes are saving us  $375 each week or $1,500 per month. Later on down the road when we add another pickup day, it could be as much as twice that.

Want to help out organizations like Lakeview Pantry with your next delivery? Be sure to remove the address sticker from your clean, lightly-used Imperfect box, flatten it, and leave it out for our drivers to pick up when they deliver your next box! Thank you for helping us keep our environmental impact light and our social impact strong.


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