Rogue to Go: Make throwaways go away

Reusable "Rogue To Go" containers cut down on plastic waste.
March 14, 2022

Rogue Valley exchangeable to-go container program cuts plastic waste

By Risa Buck, Becs Walker and Linda Peterson Adams

When it comes to single use disposables, we three get quite excited about making those throwaways go away. We wonder: Why on earth anyone would choose to use a product for minutes and then toss it? Considering the costs of purchasing the item, disposing of it with consideration for the environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, we are passionate about promoting a different way. From our perspective , a better way. Let’s celebrate the undervalued opportunities of reuse and, for this conversation, the “Rogue To Go” option.

Reuse is a pretty basic concept that has gotten buried in the dominant single-use system that assumes convenience is only achievable in the current paradigm of our throwaway culture. Reuse can be just as convenient while saving businesses and the community money. We want to support our eateries and provide a system for takeout that doesn’t add to your trash bill.

Rogue To Go is based on these principles and is managed by a volunteer board. We three — Becs Walker, Linda Peterson Adams and Risa Buck— joined forces to set up a nonprofit to run Rogue To Go. We have resurrected an old school practice that is creating a new “old” norm. It’s about convenience, accessibility for all and a better way of doing things while utilizing a new system for takeout.

Rogue To Go restaurants have joined us for many reasons — to save money on packaging, to be part of something in the community, to give their customers what they want, and to reduce their own environmental impact. Our customers choose it for many reasons, too — to not be filling their trash after each food to go meal, to save the businesses money, and to demand a better system by frequenting the restaurants that are part of the program.

Rogue To Go is an exceptional way to go and with your participation, it could become the way we “do takeout” in the Rogue Valley. We welcome more restaurants signing up and more customers participating. Please consider being a part of a better way!

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” — Anna Lappe

What is ‘Rogue To Go’?

The Rogue Valley has an amazing culinary scene. We love eating out and want a better way to support eateries, enjoy the convenience of takeout and reduce packaging and trash. Rogue To Go was created to eliminate food to go trash. We have 10 local eateries and continue to expand.

By participating in RogueTo Go, your food to go comes in a reusable container and, after enjoying your meal, you exchange your container at any participating eatery for another meal or token.

Rogue to Go is a program managed by the local nonprofit, Be The Change Rogue. We have three board members and altogether there are six of us volunteering on our advisory team. In addition to we three (Becs, Linda and Risa), we are advised and supported by Rachel Koning from Common Block Brewing Company in Medford, Rianna Koppel from the Ashland Food Co-op and Maya Nerenberg, an Ashland High School graduate who works for Patagonia. We are an enthusiastic team working for what we believe in. We are so grateful for the generosity of our community.

How does Rogue To Go work?

Buy in – Customers pay a one time fee for $10. You can buy in at any of our participating eateries. The $10 gets you one container or token and all exchanges after that are free. Purchase as many as you need for $10 each.

Fill up – When you go to an eatery to order take out, order online or call in an order, mention that you are an existing Rogue To Go customer or would like to join. A freshly sanitized, Rogue To Go container is then used for your meal. You can also request Rogue To Go for leftovers when you dine in.

Chow down – Enjoy the meal knowing no trash has been created and no additional packaging purchases were required!

Swap – Return your container household clean for another meal in a container or token for your next take out order. The old container is collected in a designated spot by the restaurant and sanitized according to Jackson County Health Department regulations. Keep Rogue To Go on the move by returning your recently enjoyed meal container for a token or another meal in a sanitized Rogue To Go container.

Additional benefits for participating with Rogue To Go for our community include an opportunity to take a proactive measure that influences restaurant owners for future planning e.g. costly resources, regulation and policy. We need to build different systems and adapt to our rapidly changing world. We have gotten the attention of other communities around the country who are interested in launching their version of Rogue To Go. The simplicity and affordability features of the program have inspired others to join in.

Did you know by 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight? Single use compostable packaging is not the answer – we don’t have the means to separately collect or treat this material in the Rogue Valley.  We can’t “recycle” our way out of this mess. Rogue To Go offers a way to capitalize on reducing and reusing!

Consider joining a growing number of locals who have become a part of a new way of doing take out!

Rogue To Go is reducing waste in the Rogue Valley one meal at a time! Please let your favorite eatery know about Rogue To Go!

If you are interested in exploring how you could contribute to our efforts, email us at btcrogue@mind.net.

Learn more about Rogue To Go at roguetogo.com and follow us on Instagram (@roguetogo).

Risa Buck, Becs Walker and Linda Peterson Adams are Be The Change Rogue nonprofit board members.

Current Rogue To Go participating restaurants

Ashland Food Co-Op

Blue Toba

Burrito Republic

Buttercloud Bakery & Café

Common Block Brewing

Falafel Republic

Kobe Modern Japanese Cuisine

Pie & Vine

Skout Taphouse

Simple Café

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.
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