Reusable Trays vs. Disposable Trays

The use of Styrofoam containers in correctional facilities across the nation is causing major problems. These containers are not only wasteful and detrimental to the environment, but they burn a hole in your budget too. The use of Styrofoam containers and other forms of disposable containers could be costing you upwards of $100,000. Please see the real-life savings example below.

Savings Potential

A large county jail on the east coast served about 2,000 inmates in Styrofoam clamshells 3 times per day, 365 days a year. They spent 0.09 cents per clamshell container. This means that they spent $197,100 per year on Styrofoam that they would save if they switched to a reusable tray. 

The alternative: To switch to a reusable tray, they would spend about $10 per day in dishwashing chemicals and 2 extra staff hours per day at 15 dollars an hour. That is 40 dollars a day for 365 days per year. 

Cost of Styrofoam [$197,100]-Cost of Reusable Trays [$14,600] = Net Savings [$182,500]

Investment Required 

They purchased 4,000 sets of new trays and lids. They purchased double the number of trays for the population to serve 2,000 meals while the other 2,000 trays are in the wash cycle. A tray/lid set is $10.74, the total investment was $42,960.

After the trays are washed, they need to go to the drying rack. Each drying rack holds 184 trays at a time, so they need 11 drying racks to dry the amount of trays they have. The drying racks cost $1,576 each. 

The total up-front costs for switching to a reusable system were calculated, including trays, lids, and drying racks. Resulting in the following: 

Trays/Lids [$42,960] + Drying Racks [$17,336] = Total Upfront Cost [$60,296]

Return on Investment 

Within the first 121 days, the $60,296 investment is paid for with the operational savings from not buying Styrofoam. 

Net Savings [$182,500]- Total Upfront Cost [$60,296] = First Year Savings [$122,204]

After one year, assume that you will need to replace 10% of the trays/lids which would cost $4,296. The annual savings from the first year would result: 

Net savings per year [$182,500]- Tray Replacements [$4,296] = Annual Savings [$178,204] 

Dangerous Material

Apart from the cost benefits associated with reusable materials, there's another factor highlighting why opting for reusables is the better choice. Styrofoam has the potential to be melted down and repurposed into a weapon. Using JonesZylon's MaxFlex Tray is an excellent way to ensure that no weapons are created, even when the material is melted down (See below).

Corrections Facilities Reusable Food Trays vs. Food Disposable Trays

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