New Partnership Aims to Cut Down on Food Packaging Waste
One of the food industry’s most significant environmental priorities is cutting down on the amount of packaging that goes to waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging contribute more than 23% of the material found in U.S. landfills. Packaging also accounts for most of the litter found on beaches and in waterways, where birds, fish, and other aquatic wildlife often ingest it.
One solution is sustainable packaging, made of recyclable or compostable materials that can either be re-purposed or broken down into organic matter.
That’s a challenge for many small businesses because converting to eco-friendly packaging can be costly. An initiative called Grants for Growth aims to help out by providing financing to make the transition easier.
Photo Courtesy merchants.ubereats
According to a January press release, grants for Growth was launched in 2022 through a partnership between Uber and Visa Inc. Its goal is to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in their transition to green and sustainable packaging solutions. It’s part of a broader, year-long effort to support SMBs that use Uber Eats.
Uber and Visa will make $1 million available to 100 qualifying Uber Eats restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Madrid. The money will go toward sustainable packaging solutions to help ensure a “greener future” in the hospitality industry.
As part of the initiative, Uber and Visa in June partnered with Enterprise Nation, a UK-based small business platform, to provide grants of $10,000 each to 20 independent restaurants and takeout eateries in London, Paris, and Madrid so they can reduce packaging waste as they grow.
Photo Courtesy merchants.ubereats
Grant awardees will receive credits in local currency to spend on more sustainable packaging products with approved sustainable packaging suppliers. This financial support is sorely needed in the industry, especially for independent restaurants working on thin margins.
“In an ideal world, everyone would like to do their bit by reducing unnecessary collective waste, but the transition can often be unaffordable and beyond reach for many small businesses,” Enterprise Nation founder and CEO Emma Jones said.
“This program breaks the cycle and addresses the initial financial burden of purchasing more sustainable packaging.”
Grants for Growth cited research showing that single-use plastics harm the environment in numerous ways and clog urban infrastructure. An analysis from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation found that if things don’t change, single-use plastic alone will outweigh fish in the sea by 2050.
“Single-use packaging is used in nearly every takeout order worldwide,” said Pierre-Dmitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s Global Head of Delivery. “With our restaurant partners, we can work towards reducing waste and helping small businesses thrive.”
Photo Courtesy pierre_dimitri
Transitioning to sustainable packaging isn’t just good for the environment – it also makes good business sense. Grants for Growth will help Uber Eats and Visa broaden their network of restaurant partners while also meeting consumer demand for more green options.
“With consumers continuing to express desires to live more sustainably, businesses across sectors have a notable opportunity to adopt more sustainable practices to meet this demand,