Takeout culture's environmental cost
And how Jybe, Restore and CauliBox are reducing it
During WW2, families that had lost their homes in the UK were delivered fresh hot meals by the government. After the war, this was adopted by the private sector in the US and thus was born the modern-day delivery service.
Pizza Hut launched the first-ever pizza online order back in 1994 and since then, online food delivery has become a billion-dollar business.
In the last year, the global lockdown due to Covid-19 has created further demand for takeaway food.
But unfortunately, most of the packaging used for takeout and food delivery is Single-Use Plastic. This contributes to around 11 million tons of plastic waste entering the oceans every year.
Here’s how 3 startups are tackling this⬇️
🥡Helping restaurants transition to Earth-friendly packaging
8.3 billion tons of plastic lies on the planet… Plastic that was manufactured 70 years ago is still impacting our health as it takes 500-1000 years to decompose. The team at Jybe had estimated that out of the 7.42 million tons of waste generated in the US, 500,000 tons come from the meal delivery container.
Sustainability and Delivery App… Launched in September 2020, Jybe helps diners to prioritize their food delivery choices based on Earth-friendly packaging.
After receiving their orders, app users are prompted to update specific details about their take-out packaging- the amount of plastic used, if the packaging is compostable and other eco-friendly packaging details.
Based on its analysis, the Jybe app allocates a score of 1 to 4 turtles to the delivery, which helps other users to make an informed decision.
Until a user provides a review for their last order, they cannot place the next order from the Jybe app.
Making it easier for restaurants… Restaurant owners have a wide array of responsibilities. Covid-19 has made the situation even more difficult. Even if they have the intention to replace plastic, they don’t have the time and resources to look for vendors. Jybe works with restaurants to help them identify sustainable, affordable packaging alternatives. It lists down sustainable packaging vendors with their product pricing on its website, making it easier for restaurants to choose and order.
🥡Creating materials that work for the people and the planet
Here’s a comparison…COVID-19 has exacerbated the single-use plastic problem as more restaurants have signed up with the delivery apps and more consumers use these services. Research by NUS business school highlights that an average delivered meal uses an estimated 54 grams of plastic vs an average of 6.6 grams of plastic used in an average restaurant meal.
10 years and 50 patents later… Newlight Technologies, a biotechnology company manufactures Restore AirCarbon™ cutlery and other foodware products using AirCarbon, a carbon-negative biomaterial. Developed after 10 years of research, AirCarbon is a natural material made by life.
It does not contain synthetic plastic and degrades if it ends up in the environment.
It stands up in hot and cold conditions, never gets soggy, and is dishwasher safe for reuse.
It is carbon negative- it removes more CO₂ from the atmosphere than is emitted.
Replicating a natural process… Natural microorganisms in the ocean consume air and greenhouse gases (GHGs) dissolved in salt water to produce a meltable energy storage material inside of their cells called polyhydroxy butyrate (PHB). Newlight replicated this process on land through their 10 years of research. Natural microorganisms from the ocean are combined with renewable power, air, saltwater, and captured greenhouse gases to manufacture AirCarbon, which is melted to form straws and forks.
🥡Helping people move from disposable to reusable
We’ve been kept in the dark… In most of the developed nations, citizens have been sorting their trash for decades now. They are made to believe that the trash put in the recycling bin is actually recycled. In the last 7 decades, only 10% of plastic has been recycled. The rest is either in the landfills or clogging our oceans. The plastic industry has spent millions ‘educating’ us about recycling while the conversation should have been around reducing and reusing.
Reusable lunch boxes… UK-based CauliBox is building a circular economy for food. Founder Josephine Liang is making sustainability affordable and convenient through a network of reusable lunch boxes.
Customers place a food order from a partner restaurant and like any other delivery service, it is delivered at their doorstep in a reusable CauliBox
After finishing the meal, customers can schedule a pick-up time for their box
The box is collected from their doorstep, washed and sanitized and is put back in circulation
Customers earn Cauli points which they can redeem for sustainable goods and services
Delaying the need to recycle… A CauliBox can be reused 400 times before being recycled. This prevents the wastage and energy that goes into manufacturing 400 boxes. The boxes are made of Polypropylene(PP), which is a type of plastic. It takes 20-30 years to degrade vs other plastics that take ~500 years. It’s definitely more environmentally friendly than other forms of plastic but I hope CauliBox comes up with an even better option in the future.
🤔Guess the word
Commonly called ‘Blue Board’, most of your takeaway and food delivery come in boxes made of this material-
S _ _ R _ _ _ _ M
A form of algae is being explored by some companies to replace plastic packaging for food containers-
S _ A _ _ _ D
Made from plants, this biodegradable flexible wrap was earlier used by food companies to pack the food-
C _ _ L _ P _ _ N _
Just hit reply and send in your responses. I will publish the answers in the next edition😊
These recent articles changed my perspective on carbon emissions and global warming-
Reduction in air pollution must be done in tandem with a reduction in greenhouse gases to avoid acceleration of global warming
The booming cannabis industry has a massive carbon footprint
The social cost of greenhouse gases- there’s no one right answer here
I would love to know your thoughts on them. Please drop them in the comments.
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