SD Voyager - Meet Brian Macdonald of M’Porte in La Jolla
Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Macdonald.
Brian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After work one day, I picked up some to-go food. At a stoplight on the way home, I looked at the plastic bag sitting on the passenger seat, took a peek inside, and found almost as much plastic as there was food. I’d never questioned this reality before that day, and I immediately wanted to give myself and others a more sustainable choice when ordering food-to-go. I set my sights on creating what is now M’Porte.
Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. One of the biggest challenges we have faced is educating people on plastic pollution. Nobody is going to make the switch to reusable containers until they understand that there are no disposable to-go containers that are environmentally friendly and that reusables will save them money in the long run. Human behavior tends to go with whatever is the most widely accepted, or the most convenient. The fact is, though, the status quo needs an upgrade. Even though reusing food containers isn’t the norm yet, neither was having your own grocery bags five years ago. We’re confident that as long as we keep improving and spreading our message, the masses will see the bigger picture.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the M’Porte story. Tell us more about the business.
M’Porte is on a mission to make reusables go hand in hand with ordering food-to-go. We are working with local restaurants to provide our reusable containers to their customers as a sustainable, reusable option for to-go food packaging. Our partner restaurants then offer discounted entrees to customers who bring in their M’Porte reusable containers when they order food-to-go. We even laser etch our partner restaurants’ logos onto our containers so that their customers can support their favorite local brands, even when they pack their own lunch for work.
The state of California and San Diego, in particular, have recently implemented new laws that support our business model as well. The first being the state of California and Associate Bill 619 (AB-619), known as the “Reusable Bill.” The bill clarifies existing health code laws and ensures that the public can bring reusable containers to restaurants for take-out without taking any risks in regards to health and sanitation standards. And on the local level, the city of San Diego has banned the use of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) in restaurants. Although the principles behind this ban are sound, it forces restaurants to purchase more expensive, compostable containers that end up in landfills despite their composition. These “compostable” containers do not biodegrade in the average backyard compost, and should theoretically be sent to a commercial composting facility to break down. The only problem with that is San Diego does not have that type of facility in place. As a result, restaurants are still looking for eco-friendly options that meet these standards, and as it turns out, reusables are the only solution that both restaurants and the city can get behind to reach their zero-waste goals.
And more recently, we have joined forces with the Surfrider Foundation as part of their Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) program. The program, which already has over 600+ participating restaurants nationwide, offers restaurants easy ways to show their commitment to making sustainable choices for our oceans. Restaurants participate in a variety of ways, including not using expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam), offering discounts to customers with reusable cups and containers, offering vegan options, as well as implementing proper energy efficiencies, increased recycling efforts, and water conservation to name a few. We are proud to be a part of the solution.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Southern California, and San Diego, in particular, is on the forefront of finding and implementing sustainable solutions. We are willing to test things, see what works and what doesn’t, and we find ways to improve.
I’m not a big fan of the word “foodie,” but if there was ever a city to be a foodie… San Diego is it. The cultural diversity we have between neighborhoods, in addition to the passion people have for the ocean and the environment is unparalleled. With local municipalities going above and beyond to reduce plastic waste, and with the support that we’ve seen from the community at large, there’s no better place to live and work than San Diego.
No city is perfect though, one thing San Diego could do better job of is creating better systems for recycling and composting waste. There are tons of local companies that are doing an incredible job within their own four walls, but there needs to be systemic improvements in regards to waste diversion tactics.
- Website: www.mporteco.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @mporteco