Take-out delivery giant trials sauce sachets made from seaweed

ketchup sachets photo
CC BY 2.0 Ben Sutherland

Perhaps more importantly, it's also giving customers the option of refusing such sachets in the first place.

It's always been a pet peeve of mine: You order a food delivery from a local restaurant, and alongside all of the actual food containers (many of them sadly foam!), you get plastic forks and knives, sauce sachets and other unnecessary clutter—even though you're eating at home and most likely have silverware of your own. In fact, a recent survey by the UK food home delivery service Just Eat suggests 74% of its customers don't want unnecessary plastic items included in their orders.

So here's what the company plans to do about it:

1) Starting immediately, they'll no longer sell single-use plastic items in their own shop, which provides partner restaurants with packaging and other supplies.

2) Trial an option for delivery customers to opt-out of single use plastic items such as cutlery, sauce sachets and straws. Crucially, this option will be pre-checked, meaning customers will actively have to opt-in to get these items with their order.

3) Trial the introduction of edible, biodegradable seaweed-based sauce sachets to restaurant partners. (The sachets are being developed in partnership with edible packaging pioneers Skipping Rocks Labs.)

As Taiwan promises a ban on single-use plastics by 2030, and as the UK mulls phasing out straws, businesses like Just Eat are probably being wise to get out in front of the plastic pollution problem as quickly as they can.

Given what we know about the dire state of our oceans, action will have to come sooner rather than later on the legislative level to rid ourselves of single-use plastics entirely. From plastic-free supermarket aisles to bulk stores promoting reusable containers, it's best to develop solutions before you're forced to do so by law.

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