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.