Are take-away containers next on the plastic chopping block?

Rethinking single-use plastics in food courts. A guest blog by Mary Sue Rogers, Catalyst at ForPurposeCo.

According to the BBC, the word of the year for children is “Plastic”, after analysis of stories submitted in a children’s writing competition. David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II programme is credited with influencing children’s writing, with titles such as The Plastic Shore and The Evil Mr Plastic, being sent in.

There’s a good reason why Plastic Free July is so popular this year.

Plastic is an environmental crisis

A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

Between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans each year to be ingested by seabirds, fish and other organisms, and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.

The 800,000 tonnes of waste from food and beverage products would fill enough large 10-yard skips to extend from London to Sydney or cover the whole of Greater London to a depth of 2.5cm.

These facts, figures and articles should be enough to make any person stop using single-use plastic – but we still do. We do it because it is easy, there are no other alternatives, or we have not stopped to think about how we could change our behaviour to help solve the problem.


After plastic bags, are take-away containers the next to be binned?

The ForPurposeCo. project is focused on reducing single-use plastic by targeting the takeaway food industry’s packaging. Our objective is to create the process, technology and packaging to allow the food consumer to reuse a sandwich, burger, and salad or soup container instead of having something that is single use. For people who use a “Keep Cup” our strategy is to create this level of disruption when it comes to takeaway food packaging.


A UX Design project to bring it all together

We have a strategy, and we are now market testing and researching what it will take for this concept to be successful. To be successful the concept needs to be embraced equally by consumers, retailers and the companies that manage the wide variety of food courts across our cities. Would you use a reusable container? If so under what conditions? As a food franchiser would you be willing to put your food into the reusable containers? What would it take for you to participate? As the manager of a food court what would it take to facilitate the collection and distribution of reusable containers? While we don’t expect Uber level profits, we do need to find a way to create sufficient revenue and profit for the business model to be financially viable.

We are excited about this initiative and with the help of the Harness Projects team to take our concept from paper to reality.

If you would like to know more about the ForPurposeCo. project, check out their project page.


About ForPurposeCo.

ForPurposeCo. is a sustainable, socially focused, profit-generating business with people, planet and purpose at its heart. It is a “profit-for-purpose” social enterprise that exists to increase funding for OzHarvest through investment in food and waste technology and innovative startups.