Like the koi fish his brand is named after, Bekko Box’s founder Coleman Dressen swims against the current. He moved to Fort Myers last year and launched his line of 95% biodegradable and BPA-free reusable food containers as an alternative to disposable to-go wares, which are linked to 44 percent of plastics found in the ocean.
In 2019, Dressen was surfing in Australia, where he was on contract for a tech firm, when he saw six-pack rings and Ziploc bags washing up on a quiet beach. “To see all that in such a remote place brought me to the realization that this needs to change,” he says. After returning to the U.S., he was researching alternatives when the pandemic hit and takeout culture swelled. He moved fast to develop a collection of takeaway containers, with black matte bowls made of bamboo fiber and corn, ramblers and drinkware made with lab beaker glass, and bamboo lids.
To use, you download the Bekko app and pay a one-time, $1 fee. Scroll to find participating restaurants, like Naples’ Bean to Cup Coffee Lounge and Café Nutrients. When you order from these places, you log into the app for a QR code to check out boxes for your takeout or leftovers. After, drop the box back at any Bekko partner or schedule a time to have it picked it up from your doorstep, so it can be sanitized and reused.
You can also purchase containers online to use at home. Limited-edition styles sport hand-painted, ocean-inspired designs by local artists, like Nick Rapp and Cath Branwood, that nod to Bekko’s water-focused origins. “Florida is such a thin state. It’s water underneath the ground,” Dressen says. “If we’re not careful with how we treat that ground, who knows what can happen.”