Customers will have to specifically 'opt-in' if the want plastic cutlery
Online food company Deliveroo has announced new measures aimed at dramatically reducing the amount of plastic used to transport takeaways.
The plan includes immediate steps to cut plastic cutlery and increase the use of sustainable packaging.
The company aims to persuade its partner restaurants to use more sustainable packaging - while it overhauls its own in-house packaging with a new 'eco-range.'
It has also pledged to invest in long term steps make the use of plastic in takeaway packaging a thing of the past.
The plan is being rolled out in the UK as early as next week, when customers using the app or the website will have to click an 'opt-in' button if they want plastic cutlery.
A spokesperson for the company told Newstalk that the policy “will soon be implemented in all Deliveroo’s markets” - including Ireland.
The company’s CEO and founder Will Shu said the measures would “help contribute to efforts to reduce the amount of plastic we all use in society and deliver real, tangible changes that will help our environment.”
“We know this is only the start,” he said.
“We will be working with our restaurant partners and customers to address this long-term challenge that matters to all of us here at Deliveroo.”
The company aims to persuade manufacturers to start producing more environmentally friendly plastic alternatives and use its purchasing power to buy up a wider range of sustainable packaging, making it more affordable for its restaurants to use.
It has also pledged to invest in the development of a new ‘first-of-its kind sustainable’ type of packaging that is tailor-made for takeaways.
Emma Cox, the company's product marketing manager, said convenience culture must not come at an environmental cost.
"It's going to involve everyone in the food industry coming together to do this and also customers playing their part," she said.
"We've been sitting down with our restaurant partners and manufacturers to identify where there are gaps and where we need to find better plastic alternatives."
Plastic makes up 95% of the rubbish that is found in the oceans. It is estimated between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of it pollutes the world's waters every year.
Tisha Brown, oceans campaigner with Greenpeace, said everyone had to step up and take more responsibility.
She said: "When you realise that a container can end up in our environment for hundreds of years, that it can cause harm to marine animals and our environments, and even end up back on our dinner plates, we really have to ask ourselves what convenience actually means."
Additional reporting from IRN ...