«We are using our influence to drive more environmentally-friendly behaviour among our restaurant partners and customers».
One of the largest food takeaway companies operating in the UK is introducing a “short, medium and long-term plan” to cut down on the amount of plastic being delivered with orders, in reaction to consumer research that showed it influences purchase decisions.
Following the much-publicised public desire to reduce the amount of plastic being used in businesses, such as plastic bags and straws, Just Eat has announced that it will stop supplying plastic items to its affiliated restaurants with immediate effect. Just Eat works with more than 28,000 restaurants, a partnership that led the fast-food delivery company to have sold more than one million single-use plastic items in 2017.
One Poll consumer research carried out on around 2,000 people this year revealed that nearly three quarters (74%) didn’t need plastic items, with just under half (49%) suggesting they would be more inclined to order from a restaurant that removed “unnecessary” plastic items.
The UK managing director of Just Eat, Graham Corfield, said it was time to take action to lower dependency on plastic, “many of which polluting the world’s oceans are by-products of food and drink consumption”. “We are using our influence to drive more environmentally-friendly behaviour among our restaurant partners and customers,” he said.
Other steps being taken by will include a pre-ticked box on its website that will automatically opt customers out of receiving plastic items and the creation of a platform designed to find “practical alternatives” to plastic. In line with the latter commitment, Just Eat will run trials of seaweed-based sauce sachets that decompose within six weeks. They are even edible.
The move by Just Eat comes at a time when businesses and even governments have mobilised to try and stop the widespread use of single-use plastic: Pizza Express has already banned plastic straws from its restaurants and Scotland announced this year that it intended to roll out a country-wide ban from 2019.
As part of Just Eat’s commitment, which could see more restaurants elect to ban plastic straws, the take away company will link up with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to develop resources that would help them and their customers reduce plastic usage. The SRA’s chief executive, Andrew Stephen, said it was taking advantage of the strong public momentum for change. “This has created a huge opportunity for the restaurant sector to make a massive impact by changing the behaviour of customers.”