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Your Next Food Order Might Get Delivered In A Seaweed-Lined Container

by Rudy Sanchez on 02/27/2020 | 2 Minute Read

There’s always been takeaway and food delivery, but with current advances in web technology, services like Postmates, Deliveroo, and UberEats have made every food under the sun available to couch-bound consumers. And it has proven immensely popular, with some forecasting the market for such services to reach $200 billion by 2025. 

The price of such convenience goes beyond delivery and service fees, as there’s also a hidden ecological cost, which includes the additional plastic needed to transport the food, in addition to requisite meal accouterments like utensils and condiments. Even plastic-free dishes made of materials that promise to be compostable can leech potential hazardous “forever chemicals” into the environment.

One of Europe’s largest food delivery services, Just Eat, is looking for new takeout container materials to mitigate the amount of plastic waste generated by their operations. That's why they decided to partner with biodegradable packaging manufacturer Notpla to trial a fully biodegradable, seaweed-based takeaway container in London. 

Editorial photograph

Just Eat has announced that it is ready to test the feasibility of the containers, with hopes to expand the program across the UK and beyond. The packaging, the first of its kind, is made with no synthetic materials, utilizing a seaweed-based liner that promises to keep the boxes sturdy as well as water-resistant and grease-proof. The wood and grass pulp boxes are fully recyclable and home compostable, degrading in a matter of four weeks.

“Over half a billion plastic boxes are used across the takeaway industry every year, and we know that eventually, they end up in landfill,” said Just Eat UK Managing Director Andrew Kenny in the announcement. "This is why we’ve been working closely with Notpla to create an innovative alternative that is recyclable, home-compostable, and which degrades in a matter of weeks.”

The trial will begin with three partner restaurants in London and follows a previous pilot of condiment sachets made of Notpla’s seaweed-powered materials.