Blue planet, green ideas | A cup to save thousands

From cardboard straw to a compostable cup, there are many solutions to replace single-use plastic. But a majority of them remain disposable, with a carbon footprint (linked to production and transport) that is significant for the environment. The young growth Cano wants to reverse the scales by offering reusable cups in a closed circuit, traceable thanks to a mobile application.

Chloe Bourquin

Chloe Bourquin

“The BIXI of containers”

Founded in 2017 by Marco Gartenhaus, Cano offers an innovative solution to replace single-use cups: a reusable cup that the consumer can borrow. “It’s a bit like the BIXI for containers,” enthuses Fanny Brosseau, marketing director at Cano. Each cup has a QR code to ensure that the user returns it to a collection point. If he does so in less than 48 hours, a loyalty system allows him to obtain certain benefits, such as free coffee.

The difference compared to a usual deposit? This system is free: the consumer does not have to pay $ 1 or $ 2 at the time, but he must return the cup within 14 days, under penalty of a bill of $ 20 if he exceeds this deadline. “The goal of the circularity of our project is that people borrow them, but don’t forget them at home, or don’t leave them lying around somewhere. We want to empower them, ”adds Mme Brosseau.

Durable or disposable? That is the question

The young growth also offers containers for meals. “All of our products are designed in Montreal. The mug is made in Ontario, and the meal container is currently made in China, ”says Salma Amzil, senior designer at Cano. “But eventually, we would really like that [la production] either in Canada or at least North American. ”


Salma Amzil, senior designer, and Fanny Brosseau, marketing director, at Cano

Disposable dishes are more polluting than durable dishes. […] You can’t even imagine how much water it takes to produce a paper cup!

Mario Laquerre, teacher at the University Center for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of Sherbrooke

Life cycle analyzes of various types of cups (disposable cardboard and polyethylene cup, dishwasher-washed ceramic cup, hand-washed gourd, etc.) were carried out in a report by the International Reference Center on the cycle of life of products, processes and services (CIRAIG), in 2014. Many parameters were evaluated, such as carbon footprint, water consumption, energy expended, impact on human health or on ecosystems. For each criterion, the reusable options are winning or equivalent compared to the disposable option, but only on condition that they are used a certain number of times (between 50 and 300 times, depending on the material).


Meal container

With a container like ours, we will achieve a carbon footprint that is less than or equal to that of a disposable container when it reaches 25 to 50 uses. If we multiply the number of uses by 100, the carbon footprint of our products becomes almost neutral. […] This is why we want to maximize the uses of our containers as best we can.

Fanny Brosseau, Marketing Director at Cano

Towards the end of single-use plastic


A Cano reusable cup system has recently been set up at the University of Montreal.

The challenge is to make this measure attractive to businesses and establishments. “They have to collect the cups, wash them… For a company, it’s quite a change from moving from disposable cups to reusable cups”, underlines Caroline Boivin, professor of marketing at the University of Sherbrooke. “We transfer the constraints that consumers could have on the company. ”

Key dates

2023: ban on single-use plastic in Montreal (restaurants, food establishments)

2030: federal government’s zero plastic waste target

Sources: City of Montreal and Government of Canada

Cano had 2,500 users before the pandemic, spread across three universities, a CEGEP and two companies. Its solution may soon be available to cafes and restaurants, which are actively seeking alternatives to single-use plastic.

There is surely going to be a big boom in compostable options. Our goal is to work hard enough so that reusable options can take over, because it is a solution that can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Fanny Brosseau, Marketing Director at Cano

The Cano reusable mug in figures

75,000 disposable packaging saved
10.5 tonnes of CO equivalent2 avoided
2.25 tonnes of waste avoided

Source : Cano


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