Just Eat launches drive to reduce UK plastic waste levels

Just Eat has today 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.

The leading global marketplace for takeaway food delivery works with 28,000 largely independent restaurants in the UK, and is today 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 shop from today
• 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.

'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.'

This collaboration between Just Eat and the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is an extension of their existing partnership to help Just Eat's network of restaurant owners operate more sustainably. The SRA will continue to support Just Eat by providing advice and resources to restaurants, raising awareness of the issues and options, and helping give customers the right advice wherever they are.

Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said, 'There is such strong momentum now behind the movement to act on single-use plastic. This has created a huge opportunity for the restaurant sector to make a massive impact by changing the behaviour of customers and those that work in the industry.

'Just Eat is showing great leadership by announcing this initial package of measures, but also committing to spearhead longer term changes that will have a hugely positive impact on the industry and the environment.

'At the SRA we'll be working hand in hand with Just Eat to support them on every step of this challenging journey, as well as connecting them with other pioneers working for positive change on this issue.'