Erika Reyes, INWITT.APP, Canada
A dedicated LOW WASTE warrior from Toronto.
Erika is the founder of Inwit.app, Toronto's First Low Waste Takeout Platform. Erika is fighting against the use of plastic and offering reusable containers for take-aways.
INWITT: REUSE. RETURN. RETHINK.REWARD.
Welcome to WOMEN FOR HUMNAITY and thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and the eco-responsible company, that you have created
Before we talk about the app you've created, let's talk a little about yourself:
Lisbeth: Where did you grow up?
Erika: Hi Lisbeth, many thanks for the interest in my story and work. I grew up in Mexico City, surrounded by an extensive and warm family.
Lisbeth: Did you have a childhood dream about doing good for the world?
Erika: Honestly, I never dreamt about making a positive change in the world. I was always interested in my short and middle-term life! I was interested in enjoying my life, having fun with my friends and family, and positively impacting the ones around me.
When I was a little older, 15 years old, I started to dream of discovering the world and other cultures.
Lisbeth: Please tell us about your education?
Erika: I studied marketing and communications. I was very passionate about making emotional connections between brands and people. The truth is, little to no thought was spared to the environmental or social impact of the product. In 2018, I realized the result of my decisions at work; a year later, I decided to leave my marketing profession to research and pilot solutions to tackle single-use plastics and waste and inspire more people to connect with sustainability.
Lisbeth: If you should describe yourself with one word?
Erika: An activist
Lisbeth: Please introduce the concept to us?
Erika: Because I love to support local restaurants, Toronto's rich and diverse cuisine, and sometimes, I am tired of my own cooking, I order takeout 1-2 times a week. (Which is what 75% of Canadians do on average). And when 40 million Canadians do that, we generate over 1B disposable containers annually. In Canada, less than 11% of all plastic gets recycled. Single-use takeout containers waste finite resources, contaminates our recycling system, pollutes our lakes & oceans, and endangers human health and our ecosystems, all for a mere 5 minutes of convenience.
I don't know about you, but I find it very sad.
Our concept is simple. You place your order on our platform, pick it up at the restaurant, and your food will be ready with our reusable containers. (Thanks to our tracking system, the containers are automatically loaded into your account). The sooner you return them to any participating restaurant, the more rewards you earn!
Our restaurant partners wash, sanitize and place the containers back in circulation, just like regular dishware!
It is the most sustainable and mindful way to takeout!
We also do education for both, restaurants and our community. We curate spaces that bring together
Climate advocates to share their journeys
Local experts who help us break down complicated sustainability issues
Entrepreneurs who have created unique solutions
Community to exchange knowledge and support each other
Artists who inspire us to see the world through a different lens
Lisbeth: Why the name Inwit?
Erika: Standing for its significance: The mind, reason, understanding; our soul; It is one of five inner faculties of every human; our inward awareness of right or wrong, simply: Our conscience.
Lisbeth: The containers, where do you produce them, and what are they made as of?
Erika: Our containers are made from 75% recycled stainless steel. They are designed to keep your food warm and can be reused up to 10,000 times. They are also 100% recyclable and will never be downcycled. Today, they are produced in China, we don’t manufacture them yet.
Lisbeth: Do people actually return them? or is there a loss in that process?
Erika: There is a lot of education to be made, our work is purely behaviour change and helping the community understand the positive impact of returning their containers. We are launching on Earth Day, and I am pretty confident that we will have a great return rate!
Lisbeth: How many restaurants do you work with? What kind?
Erika: We are working with 5 restaurants currently, and expanding soon. They all have something in common: a passion for sharing their culture, and a love for food and the planet.
Lisbeth: How many users? Age group? Men/women?
Erika: We currently have a community of +1800 Torontonians that loves local bites and the planet: both women and men, but mainly women.
Lisbeth: How have you managed during the Covid period?
Erika: When COVID-19 sent us to our homes last year, scientists were still in the early stages of learning about the virus and how it’s transmitted. It’s now been confirmed that serving both food and drinks in reusable dishware is safe. In fact, following the same strict Toronto Public Health rules that dictate everyday restaurant practices, reusables are just as safe as enjoying a meal in-house or on the patio!
Our restaurant partners systematically clean and sanitize our containers according to the highest standards recommended by the Guide to Good Hygiene & Food Safety Practices. All of our partners have a Pass Notice from Toronto Public Health and approved washing and sanitizing methods that reach + 190° Celsius.
Our restaurant partners and us take health and safety very seriously, and as such, you will always receive clean and sanitized containers in your orders.
Lisbeth: Was is your vision for the future? Going internationally? Are you planning to work with other Take away based companies, like Too good to go, to offer your container system?.
Erika: I want to live in a world where we can live and enjoy life in harmony with nature—a world where we are more connected with nature and understand better the impact of our choices. My vision for the future is based on community and solutions to reusable packaging in other industries. Whether that is expanding to other cities or other neighbourhoods, we want to keep the community at our core.
Lisbeth: Have you had a lot of challenges in setting up your company?
Erika: I am a woman, POC, and an immigrant challenging the status quo! Yes! I have had a lot!
However, every entrepreneur's biggest challenge is starting, overcoming your fears, and just keeping going.
Lisbeth: What has been a specially happy moment during the process?
Erika: My biggest happy moment was my last meeting with my team. Meeting these wonderful and passionate humans so eager to be part of something bigger than ourselves putting all their passion for making the world a better place together.
I always say that I started because I wouldn't forgive myself in 50 years if I don't do something today, and I keep going because of my incredible team.
Lisbeth: What is your advice to other women who want to live out THEIR dream?
Erika: Believe in yourself, dream with your whole spirit; because the universe is made of our dreams.
Lisbeth: Do you have a motto or a saying that guides you?
Erika: I have two: Act or accept & Always put love into the universe because when you do so, the universe sends you back more love!
Once again, thank you so much for your time with sharing your thoughts and ideas for your innovative concept. We wish you all the best and lots of succes and hopefully soon, we will be able to find INWITT all over the world!
I invite you to follow Erika on: