Uber Eats debuts reusable takeaway packaging trial in Central London

UK – Food delivery platform, Uber Eats has launched a trial on single-use takeaway food packaging in partnership with Camberwell-based reusable packaging scale-up Again.

The drive, designed to reduce single-use packaging, came into effect on April 18 and will be available to consumers living in Lambeth, Southwark, Westminster, and the city.

As part of a six-month trial, customers ordering at certain restaurants can choose to have their food delivered in reusable packaging.

After eating their meal, they can scan the QR code and order the package to be collected from their door, starting the next day.

Couriers will then collect the containers and take them to Again’s first CleanCell in Camberwell for cleaning and onward return to the participating restaurants.

The packaging will be used to house a wide range of foods including burgers, sushi, kebabs, noodles and curries.

Various incentives will be tested throughout the trial to measure what motivates customers to opt-in to reusables and to return their packaging.

Hubbub co-founder and director Gavin Ellis said: “By integrating the reuse option into a delivery app used by many households and by offering doorstep collections, we hope to see a significant uptake of reusable takeaway packaging.

“The trial will help create a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t at a local level, and hopefully lead to wider roll-out of this reuse system across more businesses and areas.”

Uber Eats’ general manager for the UK and Ireland, Matthew Price, added: “This pilot aims to make reusable packing more accessible for customers and restaurants alike.”

The shift to reusable packaging in the food-to-go sector has been challenging, with disposables still accounting for the vast majority of packaging.

Last year, Greenpeace revealed that UK households throw away nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year, recycling only 12% of single-use plastic.

According to the survey, by far the largest proportion of plastic waste was from food and drink packaging – 83% – with the most common item being fruit and vegetable packaging.

On average, each household threw away 66 pieces of plastic packaging in one week, which amounts to an estimated 3,432 pieces when applied over a year.

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