How Compass Leverages Reusables’ RFID Solution to Enhance Sustainability in Foodservice

RFID Returning Station For Reusable Food Containers 2
The foodservice industry faces significant challenges with single-use packaging waste. To address this,, a Vancouver-based tech firm, has partnered with Compass Group, a leading enterprise food service operator serving colleges, corporations, and hospitals.






North America


Circular TRAK


Logistics specializes in providing sustainable packaging solutions across Canada and the U.S. Their mission is to reduce environmental impact by implementing RFID-driven reusable packaging systems.


Compass Group is committed to environmental sustainability and the principles of the circular economy, which include eliminating waste and promoting reuse.


This partnership aims to replace single-use packaging with reusable containers, aligning with both companies’ goals to conserve resources and minimize waste.

Challenges: Tackling Plastic Waste in Foodservice

The foodservice industry is grappling with significant plastic waste issues, primarily driven by single-use packaging for takeout food. In the United States alone, millions of tons of plastic waste are generated annually from disposable packaging. As Jason Hawkins, CEO of, noted, “What we’re seeing is about half of a dining hall might be take-out, so the volumes are pretty significant on a campus.”

  1. Reducing Plastic Waste: Single-use packaging, including wrappers, plastic cups, and plastic shells, is a major contributor to environmental waste in the foodservice sector.
  2. Transition to Reusable Packaging: Foodservice organizations need effective solutions to replace disposable packaging with reusable containers. This transition is essential to minimize waste and promote sustainability.
  3. Ensuring Container Returns: The cost of reusable containers is significantly higher than single-use options, with plastic containers costing $3 to $4 and stainless steel containers around $20. Ensuring that customers return these containers is crucial for the financial viability and environmental success of the solution.

Solution: Introducing an RFID-Enabled Reusable Packaging System

To address these challenges, Reusables partnered with Compass Group to develop the “Tap to Reuse and Smart Return Bin” solution. This innovative system leverages RFID technology to enable a seamless transition from single-use to reusable packaging in the foodservice industry.

Key components of the solution include:

  1. RFID-Tagged Food Containers:
    Durable metal or plastic containers in various sizes and shapes (bowls, cups, trays) are tagged with RFID.
    The RFID tagging solution can be applied to existing inventories from different brands.

  2. RFID Reader at Point of Sale:
    Associates containers with the customer at the point of purchase.
    Integrates with major POS systems and campus credential platforms used by food establishments and higher education institutions.

  3. Smart Return Bins:
    Installed in public locations around campuses or communities.
    Built-in RFID readers capture the container’s tag ID and automatically open a motorized door for deposit.
    Connected to Reusables’ software API via Wi-Fi or LTE to authenticate transactions, update accounts, and charge for unreturned containers.

  4. Additional RFID Readers in Cleaning Areas:
    Fixed readers inventory soiled containers as they enter the cleaning cycle, updating the status in the inventory system.

Custom Solution, from Durable RFID Tagging to Efficient Tracking System

Reusables selected Xerafy to co-develop a custom RFID tagging and mounting solution using specialized epoxy glue.

The Circular TRAK tag was designed to meet the demands of foodservice handling and cleaning environments:

  • Durability: Ensures financial viability through repeated cycles and rough handling.
  • Suitability for Washing: IP68 rated, resistant to detergents, and compatible with professional dishwashing equipment.

Xerafy developed the Circular TRAK, a tag from its TRAK series of specialized inventory tagging solutions.

The same level of attention to detail went into optimizing the RFID performance of the solution’s entire tracking system, tuned for optimal RFID performance at each touch point and reliable operation:

  • Point of Sale and Return Bins: Reader antenna power is adjusted to short-range to avoid stray reads from neighboring tags.
  • Return Bin Liner: Ensures tags are read only when inside the bin, not when carried past.
  • Software Algorithms: Restrict the bin reader from continuously reading tags once detected, preventing false readings.

This comprehensive solution not only promotes environmental sustainability by reducing single-use packaging waste but also ensures financial viability through effective inventory management and customer accountability.

Benefits: Achieving Efficiency and Sustainability

The RFID-enabled solution developed by Reusables and Xerafy offers several key benefits for both customers and foodservice operators:

  1. Convenience for Customers:

    • The system allows customers to purchase food and drinks in durable containers, take them out of the restaurant, and receive credit for returning them within a specified period. This process is seamless and user-friendly, encouraging participation in the reuse program.
  2. Accountability:

    • The RFID technology ensures high return rates, with over 80% of containers being returned. This accountability is crucial for maintaining the financial viability of the reusable container program.
  3. Inventory Management:

    • RFID tags enable precise tracking of containers, ensuring that those taken out of dining areas are consistently returned. This real-time visibility into inventory helps manage and maintain an adequate supply of reusable containers.
  4. Operational Efficiency:

    • The automated tracking system streamlines operations for Compass Group, reducing the administrative burden associated with manual tracking. This improvement in efficiency enhances the accuracy of inventory management and allows staff to focus on other essential tasks.

Jason Hawkins, CEO and co-founder of Reusables, highlights the significance of this collaboration:

“This partnership with Xerafy represents a pivotal moment in our journey towards creating a more sustainable foodservice industry. Our combined expertise in technology and sustainability will set new benchmarks in operational efficiency and environmental stewardship.”

By integrating RFID technology, Reusables and Compass Group have created a system that not only promotes environmental sustainability but also delivers significant operational benefits.

Xerafy is a pioneer in Industrial RFID, bringing to market several innovations that enable advanced industrial identification and automation capabilities.

In addition to a complete range of field-proven RFID tags available off-the-shelf, Xerafy offers Custom RFID Tags services, covering everything from a personalization service bureau to custom-design engineering capabilities.

Never miss an update

Subscribe to the Xerafy Newsletters and stay up to date with our latest case studies, white papers, product news

Contact Us

© 2010-2022 Xerafy Singapore Pte Ltd