To this day, not a single large meal delivery service uses reusable packaging. Anyone who has a meal delivered always receives it in disposable packaging, which ends up in the rubbish bin after only a few minutes of use and is rarely recycled.
With the Deliveround project, the meal delivery service Deliveroo, the City of Hasselt and the environmental organization Recycling Network Benelux are working together on a circular solution for reusable packaging for delivery meals.
We conducted research into what is the most suitable reusable packaging for consumers, restaurants, delivery services and the environment. We do not only want to prove that reusable containers are a good alternative without loss of comfort or taste, but also to devise a smart logistical system to optimise the circulation of reusable packaging. In this way, we hope to give the sector the first impetus towards a fundamental system change towards a circular economy.
What is unique about the project is that we immediately tested a system of reusable trays in practice among the inhabitants of Hasselt, in cooperation with a number of local restaurants.
Partly due to the corona crisis, we shifted our focus during the project to compiling our results and learning lessons in a handbook on reuse for restaurant owners. We also had an LCA tool developed that gives a quick insight into whether it is worthwhile, from an environmental perspective, to switch to reusable containers.
Recycling Netwerk Benelux
Partners Deliveroo, Stad Hasselt
It was not the intention to scale up this project to a permanent situation where Deliveroo would immediately switch completely to reusable containers. Partly due to the corona crisis, we had to scale down instead of up.
The most important thing is that, thanks to this project, we have gathered a lot of useful information about the opportunities and challenges of reusable packaging in the sector and that we are sharing this knowledge. In this way, we can create maximum social return. We hope to interest and motivate as many parties as possible to start working with reusable packaging.
To make reuse really big in the delivery food sector, it is important that parties invest in take-back and washing-up facilities. Government steering, for example through re-use targets or a ban on disposable packaging, can also provide an important stimulus.