Sweetgreen Eliminates Reusable Salad Bowls Due to Food Safety Concerns

Sweetgreen Eliminates Reusable Salad Bowls Due to Food Safety Concerns
Sweetgreen eliminates reusable salad bowls from their restaurants nationwide. Photograph via Flickr user Alicia.

Washington-based salad chain Sweetgreen has discontinued the use of reusable salad bowls (a.k.a. “salad blasters”) at all 53 locations nationwide. The move is a cautionary measure due to food safety concerns.

The reusable plastic bowls have been a Sweetgreen staple for over seven years, touted by the company as one of their many sustainably-minded practices. Customers could purchase a blaster for $6, and received a free salad topping every time they returned with their (ostensibly clean) bowl. Now that the program has ended, customers can return their bowls—to be recycled, naturally—in exchange for a free salad.

Reusable cups and containers are used by mega-chains like Starbucks, both as a way to eliminate waste and save money, though the practice could increase the risk of food borne illnesses if the containers aren’t thoroughly cleaned. Sweetgreen has been on a health mission this year, going so far as to ban popular ingredients like bacon and Sriracha as part of their “Make America Healthy Again” campaign.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.