Uber Eats offers restaurants $10K grants to switch to sustainable packaging

Uber Eats has launched a zero-waste and zero-emissions initiative to reduce plastic packaging and carbon emissions.

Consumer surveys have unveiled a noteworthy preference for sustainable packaging among Uber Eats customers, with 80% of Eaters in the U.S. and U.K. expressing a higher likelihood of ordering from merchants that prioritize eco-friendly packaging solutions, as stated by the company. However, restaurants have voiced concerns over the higher costs associated with sustainable packaging, which can be as much as 25% more expensive than petroleum-based alternatives, according to Uber Eats. Recognizing this disparity, Uber Eats has seized the opportunity to collaborate with various sustainable packaging providers, offering a generous 35% discount on green packaging materials.

In the United States, the company has partnered with Green Paper Products, while in Europe, it has joined forces with Bunzl, Enviropack, and Dinovia. Uber Eats has received valuable guidance from reputable organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and Closed Loop Partners to identify packaging providers offering reusable, recyclable, and compostable options.

Through the Grants for Growth program, a joint initiative between Uber Eats and Visa, small businesses can apply for grants of $10,000 to invest in sustainable packaging. Originally launched during the pandemic to support struggling restaurants, the program is currently accepting applications until July 7. The selection process will be facilitated by Hello Alice, Uber Eats’ partner, which will determine the eligible and deserving restaurants across the United States.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, CEO of Uber Eats, emphasized the company’s commitment to addressing the issue of single-use plastic waste and its environmental impact. “To address single-use plastic waste and its effects on the environment, we’ll help restaurants transition to more sustainable packaging in every city where we do business by 2030 through a combination of discounts, incentives, and advocacy,” stated Gore-Coty.

In 2020, Uber Eats introduced a feature that allows consumers to opt-in for single-use cutlery and launched reusable packaging pilots in France, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund and Closed Loop Partners, Uber Eats has developed packaging guidelines and forged partnerships to support restaurants in their transition to eco-friendly packaging.

Furthermore, consumers will now have the option to specifically select merchants that utilize green packaging in Amsterdam, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Taipei, starting this week, as announced by Gore-Coty.

In line with its zero-emissions commitment, Uber Eats has implemented several initiatives to assist couriers in reducing their carbon footprint. The company has invested in optimizing delivery routes to minimize emissions, employing strategies such as mapping out the most efficient routes and identifying suitable parking spots for couriers. This approach not only streamlines the pickup and delivery process but also reduces congestion on the roads. Another important measure is the implementation of batching, whereby drivers can collect multiple orders from a single restaurant and deliver them to nearby customers. This not only increases earnings for couriers but also contributes to emissions reduction, according to Uber Eats.

To further support couriers in transitioning to last-mile, zero-emission transportation, Uber Eats has partnered with RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute) to analyze the challenges and opportunities in this regard. This collaboration will enable Uber Eats to expand existing programs and develop new initiatives to facilitate the shift towards eco-friendly transportation methods. In North America, the company has extended its vehicle partnerships, including the Hertz Tesla rental program and cashback incentives for Pro Card users when charging vehicles.

Uber Eats remains committed to promoting sustainability and reducing its environmental impact, both through its collaboration with restaurants to adopt eco-friendly packaging and its initiatives to support couriers in embracing zero-emission transportation methods. By prioritizing sustainability, Uber Eats aims to enhance the overall food delivery experience while minimizing its ecological footprint.

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