Tiny toggle button on food delivery apps saves 1 million plastic utensils in S'pore every week

Reduce waste by refusing plastics and finding alternatives.

Jane Zhang| December 04, 04:42 PM

Deliveroo, GrabFood, and Foodpanda pledged on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to work towards eliminating plastic waste as part of the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative.

Reducing plastic waste in Singapore

PACT is an initiative to encourage businesses to practice accountability and do their part to eliminate plastic pollution and create a circular economy of plastics.

Image compiled from WWF website and via Facebook pages of Foodpanda, GrabFood, and Deliveroo

In 2018, 1.6 million tonnes of waste was generated in Singapore.

One-third of that was just from packagings.

More than half of packaging waste is made of plastic, but only four per cent of plastic waste is recycled.

By committing to PACT, the three food delivery companies are following these industry-wide steps:

  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.

Saving 1 million pieces of plastic utensils per week

Between Deliveroo, GrabFood, and Foodpanda, they collectively save over one million pieces of plastic utensils per week through simply the toggle button that requires customers to opt-in if they need utensils with their delivery.

grab food no cutlery toggle Image screen captured from Grab app

foodpanda no cutlery toggle Image screen captured from foodpanda website

deliveroo no cutlery toggle Image screen captured from Deliveroo website

Simple but effective.

The goal is to remove all unsustainable plastic packaging by 2024.

Steps taken by food delivery partners

Each of the companies has also taken their own steps towards the PACT goals.

Deliveroo recently partnered with BioPak, a sustainable packaging company, to provide its restaurant partners with environmentally-friendly packaging made of plant-based sources, certified sustainable paper or recycled paper.

GrabFood has worked with LiHO, PlayMade, and Woobbee to replace their plastic straws with the Grab PlantStick straw, a plant-based, compostable one, at their 117 outlets.

Foodpanda has an ongoing promotion to encourage users to opt out of disposable utensils, offering them a $5 voucher for every five orders each month placed without utensils.

Kim Stengert, Chief of Strategic Communication and External Relations of WWF-Singapore, highlighted the importance of working with these companies to take these steps:

“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.

Top image edited from Roads.sg/Facebook