Retakeout: A New Take on Recycling

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Photo Courtesy of Sophia Wang

Sophia Wang poses with containers from Retakout’s recent donation drive.

Hannah Choy, Reporter

Many Chamblee students are actively involved in community service, participating in the many service-based organizations offered at Chamblee High School, or through independent endeavors. Sophia Wang (‘24) is one such student who has chosen to take initiative through the formation of her own non-profit, Retakeout.
Retakeout is an independent project that Wang was inspired to start due to her interest in the environment and its preservation. Wang focused on recycling, specifically single-use plastics, inspired to address the problem of waste created by consumers not recycling restaurant take-out containers.
“I’ve always been interested in the environment and ways to save it when I was growing up. I learned about single-use plastics and [how] most of them can’t be recycled, so it’s better to reuse them, and that’s how I got the idea [of creating my nonprofit]. A lot of people order food from a restaurant to take out […] and since most people don’t take them to a special place to get [the containers] recycled, they’ll throw them away. So instead, I take [the containers] and give them to homeless shelters to reuse them to give out food,” said Wang.
Retakeout is a registered 501(c)(3), meaning that it is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Service, and is operated for exclusively charitable purposes.
“[Retakeout is] incorporated in the state of Georgia and it’s a 501(c)(3),” said Wang.
Retakeout is currently in its early phases of development, but it has already been able to contribute to multiple organizations that help provide food and resources for homeless peoples.
“There’s about four or five that I’ve partnered with so far, and they are Hope Atlanta, The Elizabeth Foundation, the I Believe Foundation, Food Commune, and Food 4 Lives,” said Wang.
Additionally, Wang organized the nonprofit’s first official donation drive to collect containers to donate to these organizations and others.
“I have a drive this Saturday [11/5] by the Egg Harbor in Alpharetta from ten to two. I’ll be in the parking lot, like our car will be there, and people [can] just bring stuff by,” said Wang.
Prior to this, Wang has been collecting donations from individuals, using social media and other online platforms to arrange pick-ups.
“We’ve been picking [containers] up from people’s houses [as] I’ve posted on social media and Nextdoor [for] people [to] DM us if they have anything,” said Wang.
According to Retakeout’s website, Wang was able to collect over 250 clean takeout containers from her Johns Creek donation drive, and plans to deliver them to the organization’s partners for reuse.
“Although it was our first drive, we collected around 300 containers with about 10 donors overall,” said Wang.
With the success of her first drive, Wang hopes to schedule more events in the future.
“As of now, we haven’t scheduled another drive yet but there will definitely be more in the future, which will all be posted on the website. Even though there aren’t any planned drives, we’re still continuing to collect containers from around the community through pick-ups,” said Wang.
Ultimately, Wang hopes that her nonprofit, Retakeout, will be able to positively impact the environment by helping to address the problems of plastic waste and distributing food for the less fortunate.
“My hope is for the plastic recycling is to make a significant impact in our community through a visibly reduced amount of trash in landfills, as well as to give back to the community through helping food shelters distribute meals with containers,” said Wang. “The most important goal is to positively benefit the community through both reduced trash products and feeding the less fortunate.”