The company says it has stopped selling all single-use plastic items through its partner shop and will 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 its restaurant partners, which are not only edible but also decompose within six weeks.
It will also trial a pre-ticked box on its app and website to encourage customers to opt out of receiving plastic cutlery, straws and sauce sachets.
The move comes following its consumer research that revealed that 74% of takeaway-eaters did not need items such as plastic cutlery, straws and sauce sachets in their food delivery order, and that they would prefer their takeaway to arrive without them.
In addition, 49% said they would be more inclined to order from their local restaurant if they didn’t receive unnecessary plastic items, according to Just Eat.
“Many of the plastics polluting our oceans are by-products of food and drink consumption,” says Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield.
“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.”
The announcement follows Deliveroo’s plans to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that its takeaway meals are transported in.
Just Eat is also working with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to help restaurants reduce plastic usage. 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.
“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,” says Andrew Stephen, SRA chief executive.