Lakehead University launches a reusable container program with Montreal’s Cano Co.


Heleena Stephens, Manager, Food and Conference Services, showed Anna Chief, left, and Jerri-Lynn Orr, right, how to use the new Cano app.  

October 25, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.   

Lakehead University launched a reusable container program in dining facilities on its Thunder Bay campus on October 25. 

Students, faculty, and staff signed up for the free app-based program in the Agora and Main Dining Hall. When they downloaded the app, called Cano, they received a free coffee and a Persian donut. 

Working with Montreal-based start-up Cano Co., Lakehead continues to be a leader in sustainability as it promotes the transition from single-use packaging to reusable food containers. 

Heleena Stephens, Lakehead University’s Acting Director of Food and Conference Services, was excited about the launch. 

“We have worked collaboratively with Aramark and the Office of Sustainability to bring the right program to our institution and to our city," Stephens said. 

Lakehead wanted a streamlined program for on-campus food service providers on a user-friendly platform for students, faculty, and staff. 

“It was very important to move away from piecemeal solutions and singular approaches to sustainability initiatives by considering how we might utilize our positions as a lead employer and institution,” Stephens said. 

She was optimistic that other institutions and organizations across the city might follow Lakehead’s lead in adopting this free, reusable container program as Thunder Bay strives to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The Cano Co. program has many benefits for organizations and users. The no-fee platform makes the program accessible for students who can also earn free food and drink rewards by using the program and returning their containers promptly. 

The app-based program tracks how many takeout containers a user has diverted from waste and recycling streams and the corresponding reductions in carbon emissions, enabling institutions to track waste and emissions savings over time. 

“We know that single-use plastics and food packaging contribute to the climate crisis and climate injustices.  We are thrilled that comprehensive solutions such as the Cano Co. container program are becoming more common and more accessible,” said Aynsley Klassen, Lakehead’s Sustainability Coordinator. 

“It is important that we act now, with an eye toward how we can continue to expand programs like these on our campuses and in our communities.” 

The Cano Co. reusable container program can be accessed at Lakehead University on its Thunder Bay campus at Aramark locations in the Main Dining Hall, with plans to expand the program in the winter term. 

To learn more about the program, visit or download the free Cano Co. app on the Apple store or the Google Play store. 




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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 9,000 students in THE’s 2023 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit