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January, 2024

Uber Eats and Planet Ark partner to drive sustainable packaging in Australian restaurants

Uber Eats has announced a multi-year partnership with environmental organisation Planet Ark, aiming to assist Australian restaurants in transitioning to more sustainable packaging. The partnership is part of Uber Eats’ commitment to help its restaurant merchants switch to reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging options by 2030.

The first milestone of the partnership is a framework developed for Uber Eats by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures. This framework identifies whether a restaurant’s packaging meets certain sustainability criteria. Uber Eats has committed up to $13m in funding over the next three years to stimulate more sustainable packaging uptake through programs and subsidies.

This follows a pilot initiative in Q4 2023, where Uber Eats offered all small to medium-sized businesses access to $1m in funding to support the purchase of more sustainable packaging through packaging partner Detpak.

“We are thrilled to partner with Planet Ark to bring information to businesses that are looking to make the shift to more sustainable packaging. We’ve already seen the incredible impact our technology can have on the restaurant ecosystem. Since making cutlery opt-in, rather than being included by default, we estimate eaters have helped reduce the equivalent weight of four jumbo jets worth of plastic forks, spoons and the like ending up in Australian landfill.” said Bec Nyst, General Manager, Uber Eats ANZ.

Uber Eats will publish the educational materials developed with Planet Ark on their website, making them available to all restaurants, even those not on the platform. Uber Eats will also provide research to the Restaurant & Catering Association to ensure materials are accessible to as many stakeholders across the restaurant ecosystem as possible.

“There is increasing expectation from consumers, governments and the community to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. With the recent announcement that the federal government will become the new regulator of packaging standards, mandating how packaging is designed, setting minimum recycled content requirements, and prohibiting harmful chemicals being used, all ladder up to encouraging developments.” said Rebecca Gilling, CEO, Planet Ark.

The partnership and funding commitment was unveiled at the Palm House in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens and was catered by popular restaurants Lox in a Box and Cali Press, both of which have already taken steps to improve the packaging they use across their businesses.

“The R&CA is pleased to support this partnership between Uber Eats and Planet Ark and the positive impact this partnership will have in reducing the waste footprint of thousands of restaurants. Our industry is committed to being one that is sustainable and contributing positively to the wider community and environment. We look forward to witnessing the fruitful outcomes of this collaboration.” said Suresh Manickamn, CEO, Restaurant & Catering Association.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will continue to aid restaurant partners and consumers globally by providing expert advice and educational materials.