Just Eat launches major drive to reduce impact of takeaways on UK plastic waste levels

Just Eat has announced a package of measures to reduce excess plastic included in UK takeaway food deliveries.

New consumer research reveals that three quarters (74%) of takeaway-eaters do not need items such as plastic cutlery, straws and sauce sachets in their food delivery order, and they would prefer their takeaway to arrive without them. In addition, half (49%) say they would be more inclined to order from their local restaurant if they didn’t receive unnecessary plastic items, they report.

The takeaway food delivery hub works with 28,000 largely independent restaurants in the UK, and says it is committing to the following measures:

  • Having sold over one million plastic packaging products to UK restaurants in 2017 through its partner shop, Just Eat will stop selling all single-use plastic items in its shops.
  • Establish an innovation platform to invest in the research and development of innovative and practical alternatives for single use plastics (the first initiative will be a partnership with Skipping Rocks Lab to trial the introduction of seaweed-based sauce sachets to restaurant partners which are not only edible but also decompose within six weeks).
  • Trial adding a pre-ticked box on its app and website to nudge customers to opt out of receiving plastic that they do not need - such as plastic cutlery, straws and sauce sachets.
  • Work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to create and distribute a series of resources for restaurants to help them and their customers reduce plastic usage over time.

Graham Corfield, UK managing director of Just Eat said: “Many of the plastics polluting our oceans are by-products of food and drink consumption. As the market leader in online food delivery, we are using our influence to drive more environmentally-friendly behaviour among our restaurant partners and customers.

“In the short term, that means helping our customers opt-out of excess plastics and completely halting the sale of single-use plastics from our restaurant partner shop. In the medium term, it means educating our 28,000 restaurant partners to reduce their plastic usage. And in the long term, it means funding the research and development which will create more sustainable packaging that keeps food hot and fresh.

“This is just the first step and we look forward to working with our partners and suppliers to support innovation in the sector.”