What measures are the food delivery companies taking to solve the problem of excessive packaging? | Metro News

2021-11-04 10:25:54 By : Ms. Gavin Sun

The pandemic has led to an upsurge of people turning to food delivery services. 

It’s not hard to understand why, considering that they almost do a lot of hard work for us-they bring delicious ingredients and recipes to our door every week.

Therefore, there is no need to worry about going to the store or shortage of certain foods.

But one downside of these companies is the accompanying excessive packaging-after the recent climate change headlines, we are more aware of this than ever. 

Danny, who frequently uses HelloFresh, believes that food delivery companies do use a lot of packaging. 

"Fortunately, most of the garbage is recyclable," he told Metro.co.uk.

"Each meal produces a lot of plastic waste, and each meal is packed in a separate paper bag, which can then be recycled." When I cook, I tend to separate the waste and the excess food is sent to the guinea pigs. Recycled food is put into the trash can.

However, Danny believes that HelloFresh can solve this problem by "bundling different products together".

He added: "There are 30 grams of cheese, but I find that most of the time I need 60 grams or 120 grams. They can use a 120 gram piece of cheese to reduce packaging. Eat four meals a week and reduce a lot of plastic waste. .

"This can be applied to multiple ingredients and helps reduce waste."

Anastasia, who uses Gousto, said that she has recently seen changes in the brand.

She told Metro.co.uk: "I noticed that Gousto has recently reduced its packaging and it has been reduced to a minimum. I think they must have done better because even their meat ice cubes are made of recyclable paper. of.

"I like that most of the large parts, such as the fresh/meat boxes are cardboard, and all the small cabinets are packed in recyclable paper bags.

"Unfortunately, there is still some plastic in the box. For example, for oil or spices and meat, but I believe this has been reduced to an absolute necessity. All paper packaging is absolutely recyclable, and I am not sure all plastic is .

"I don't think they can cut it further without compromising the consumer-friendly experience."

Beth, who has been using Gousto and HelloFresh for many years, believes that both brands can do more.

"It's actually very frustrating because they all deal with different parts of the packaging in a better and more environmentally friendly way," she said.

'For example, the insulating part of Gousto (used to keep fresh items refrigerated) is made entirely of cardboard. On the other hand, HelloFresh packs some of their spices and toppings (such as nuts) in a sealed brown paper bag, but this is almost always in the plastic bag in the Gousto box.

'I think these two services will definitely be improved. They can look at each other’s packaging options because, as I said before, they do better in different parts of the process.

Beth adds that in a family of three, it feels like a lot of garbage packaging—especially multiple meals. 

"If these services can better cater to odd numbers of people, that would be great," she added.

'Gousto only allows you to order two to four people, which is annoying for a family of three. We ordered four to eat more, or save one lunch, so there was no food waste, but it was good to be able to order three.

"HelloFresh does allow you to order three, but some of their pre-packaged fresh ingredients, such as spinach leaves, can be eaten by four people, so we will end up with some excess ingredients."

Beth emphasized that recycling services may also be an alternative to solving these environmental problems. 

“Some parts of plastic packaging can be recycled, but only at curbside collection points,” she continued. 

"As a person without a car, this is not great, but I will save these plastics, and then send them back through the courier that fell from the lunch box, or even through the Royal Mail." If they can do something like this and make It is suitable for a wider range of packaging, and I think it will be very good.

One company that does provide a return system is allplants-but customers still think there is a way to improve this.

Matt, who uses their service, said: "With this box, you get the insulating material, which is made from recycled materials. They also encourage you to send it back via the free postage and packaging label that came with the delivery. So You put the insulating material back in the box, then take it to the store nearest you and send it back-I guess they will reuse it, which is good.

"I think they can inspire us to send back the insulation material because, to be honest, it's a bit nonsense," he added.

"I try to do this, but you have to put the insulating material back in the box, tape it up, label it, and then take it to the drop-off point closest to you-this may be possible for some people. Not local.

"If they provide customers with incentives, such as a £1 off next delivery, or discounts on points, I think it will definitely make me do more."

Obviously, the customer believes that action is needed-so what is the company doing itself to reduce excess packaging and waste? 

We contacted HelloFresh, Gousto and allplants to hear what they said...

A HelloFresh spokesperson told Metro.co.uk that the company has a dedicated team that is researching new ways to develop sustainable solutions.

They explained: “In the UK, we implemented an internally developed software tool to optimize the packaging of our meal packs by choosing smaller boxes, meal bags and cold storage bags. 

"Since its launch more than two years ago, this tool has helped us save approximately 650 tons of plastic from landfills and reduce the use of more than 160 tons of cardboard. In the UK and other markets, we operate packaging laboratories. Research new packaging solutions in it to help us achieve the goal of avoiding, reducing and recycling.

'We will continue to develop new solutions, which will help us reduce the number of packages. That being said, packaging is always essential to ensure transportation protection, food safety and quality, and help prevent food waste. In these cases, HelloFresh is working to implement certified recyclable materials for all basic packaging.

According to the brand, an example of this is the new paper packaging solution for basmati rice, jasmine and risotto, and breadcrumbs-100% recyclable in British households.

A Gousto spokesperson told Metro.co.uk that the company is now a certified B company-which means they have reached the highest standards of proven social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability , To balance profit and purpose.

They explained: "We have achieved this goal through continuous efforts to reduce the plastic packaging in the formula box."

'Last year, we introduced more loose cardboard boxes and cardboard egg boxes for vegetables, tomatoes and other vegetables, and reduced the size of our ingredient packs, reducing the plastic in plastic boxes by 50%. Most importantly, we launched the Eco Chill Box-an innovative insulator made from recycled cardboard that keeps the ingredients in our boxes fresh. With this alone, we can save more than 74.5 tons of plastic from Gousto boxes every year.

Gousto also added that they are still focused on improving sustainability and continue to invest in this area by exploring new materials, technologies and processes-while working with suppliers to reduce plastic packaging.

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Ellie Harrison, the company's head of sustainability, emphasized that the company has already proposed solutions for problematic materials such as polystyrene.

She said: “For example, allplants uses recycled, post-industrial denim to provide insulation for meals made by our plant-based chefs. This liner can be used (at least) more than 10 times and helps us reduce Waste.

'We also believe that the real secret of sustainable packaging is not just recycling-it's reuse. This is why we ask customers to return the packaging so that we can use it again and again. Our free packaging return service means that we can further extend the life of these materials. So far, we have returned more than 600,000 boxes, saving more than 200 million tons of packaging waste.

'We are constantly adapting to new methods to make our packaging as sustainable as possible. Whenever we find a more sustainable alternative, we will make a change. Therefore, in the past 2.5 years, we have experienced four packaging "evolutions." 

'We intend to let this situation continue. As our packaging further develops, we will use data and technology to create smaller, more precisely matched boxes, which will reduce cardboard.

'We will also reduce the use of coolant by using real-time weather data and smaller dry ice bags. Most importantly, we will continue to make our free packaging returns as simple and easy to use as possible.

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