New commitment by food delivery industry saves 1 million pieces of plastic utensils a week

Posted on 04 December 2019

Singapore’s biggest food delivery companies today announced an industry commitment to the Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • Over 1 million pieces of plastic utensils are saved per week as part of a food delivery industry commitment to WWF’s PACT (Plastic ACTion) initiative.
  • The companies also target to remove unsustainable plastic packaging by 2024.

SINGAPORE, 4 December 2019 –– Singapore’s biggest food delivery companies today announced an industry commitment to the Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The three companies – Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood – collectively save over 1 million pieces of plastic utensils per week with a toggle button that allows customers to refuse utensils by default. This is a first step in a long term commitment by the industry to reduce single use plastics, with a target of removing all unsustainable plastic packaging by 2024.
By working with food delivery companies, WWF aims to address the prevalence of plastic waste in Singapore. Packaging waste takes up a third of the 1.6 million tonnes of domestic waste disposed of in 2018. More than half of this packaging is made of plastic, but only 4% of plastic waste ends up being recycled[1].
Says Kim Stengert, Chief of Strategic Communication and External Relations, WWF-Singapore, “Food delivery companies are agents of change because of their reach across the F&B industry. We are excited to bring all players in Singapore together for this landmark commitment, which will influence the sustainability efforts of other F&B establishments in Singapore too. While we continue working on reducing disposable plastic utensils, we also look forward to working together with the industry to remove all unsustainable takeaway packaging by 2024.”.
The commitment to PACT covers the following industry-wide measures:

  1. Implementing a default opt-in for utensils.

  2. Adopting alternative materials to plastic such as recycled plastic or sustainable plant-based plastic.

  3. Engaging merchants and restaurants to improve food packaging material.

Deliveroo recently partnered with BioPak to provide its partners with packaging made of plant-based sources, certified sustainable paper or recycled paper.
Says Siddharth Shanker, General Manager of Deliveroo Singapore, “This is an important step towards building a more sustainable future for the food delivery industry. We are determined to help all the restaurants we work with adopt more sustainable practices, and the results we’ve seen so far are extremely positive. Deliveroo’s unique role in the food delivery sector allows us economies of scale to offer our partners more competitive prices for sustainable packaging. This allows even smaller businesses to make environmentally responsible choices.”
foodpanda, which implemented the opt-in button in January 2018, has an ongoing promotion to incentivise customers with a S$5 voucher for every five orders placed with no disposable utensils.
“Since pioneering the sustainability movement in the food delivery industry with opt-in cutlery two years ago, we are proud to see how far we’ve come as an industry – but there is definitely a lot more that we can do. At foodpanda, we’re committed to actualising real change – we’ve saved millions of sets of cutlery with our opt-in cutlery option, partnered with CHOOOSE to make orders carbon positive and rewarding our customers for being part of our movement. We believe that sustainability isn’t about shaming people, but rather to encourage people to make a difference in a positive way,” said Laura Kantor, Head of Sustainability and Marketing, foodpanda Singapore.
In addition to the in-app cutlery toggle, GrabFood has also started offering the Grab PlantStick straw, a bubble tea straw made of compostable, plant-based material. It is working with LiHO Tea, PlayMade and Woobbee to replace all plastic straws in their 117 outlets with plant-based ones.
Dilip Roussenaly, Head of GrabFood Singapore says, “We are pleased to be a part of WWF's PACT initiative. At GrabFood, we recognise that we can do more to reduce our environmental footprint and are committed to take steps to reduce plastic waste, beginning with encouraging the reduction of single-use plastic cutlery. GrabFood's efforts to reduce plastic waste in Singapore is an element of our broader Grab for Good social impact plan launched back in September, which maps out our plans to deliver positive, sustainable impact in the communities we serve."

[1] Singapore Ministry of Environment and Water Resources

© WWF-Singapore