• Partnership to provide clarity to restaurants on what packaging can be considered more sustainable
  • Programs to educate people on how to best dispose of packaging in an effort to contribute to the circular economy. 
  • Investments and subsidies to make more sustainable packaging options more affordable
  • Incentives for businesses moving towards more sustainable forms of packaging

Uber Eats has announced a multi-year partnership with Australia’s preeminent environmental organisation, Planet Ark, designed to help Australian restaurants move towards more sustainable packaging. We believe this is an important step towards helping Uber Eats restaurant merchants transition to reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging options by 2030.

The first milestone between the two organisations has been consultation on a framework developed for Uber Eats by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures. The peer-reviewed framework identifies whether a restaurant’s packaging meets certain sustainability criteria, including what is considered reusable, recyclable or compostable within the framework. 

Uber Eats is also announcing up to $13m in funding over the next three years to stimulate more sustainable packaging uptake through programs and subsidies.

This follows a pilot initiative in the last quarter of 2023, where Uber Eats offered all small to medium sized businesses access to $1m in funding to support the purchase of more sustainable packaging through our packaging partner Detpak.   

General Manager, Uber Eats ANZ Bec Nyst said: “We are thrilled to partner with Planet Ark to bring information to businesses that are looking to make the shift to more sustainable packaging. We’ve already seen the incredible impact our technology can have on the restaurant ecosystem. Since making cutlery opt-in, rather than being included by default, we estimate eaters have helped reduce the equivalent weight of four jumbo jets worth of plastic forks, spoons and the like ending up in Australian landfill.”

“As we have increased our investment in this area and as we progress our partnership with Planet Ark, we’ll look to identify additional system changes to accelerate the uptake of more sustainable packaging options across Australia. We’ll use our scale and relationships with suppliers to improve the unit economics on more sustainable packaging and finally we will explore  rewarding restaurants investing in this type of packaging with enhanced visibility on our platform.”

Planet Ark’s CEO Rebecca Gilling said: “There is increasing expectation from consumers, governments and the community to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. With the recent announcement that the federal government will become the new regulator of packaging standards, mandating how packaging is designed, setting minimum recycled content requirements, and prohibiting harmful chemicals being used, all ladder up to encouraging developments.”

“But while this is a positive outcome, there is still much to do, and there is a clear need to provide support to small businesses – including restaurants – on how to reduce packaging waste best. We’re delighted to be able to announce a multi-year effort with Uber Eats to help them assist their restaurant partners – and to lift the standard for the sector more broadly.” 

Today’s announcement follows the release of the Restaurant Pulsecheck Report, which revealed sustainability was a key focus for restaurant owners, with seven in ten industry respondents citing it as the most appealing social cause for customers. 

Uber Eats will continue to work in partnership with industry experts, like Planet Ark, government and business leaders to share knowledge and address challenges in the packaging lifecycle. Allowing restaurants to continue to focus on their core business – incredible hospitality and inventive cuisine.

“Uber Eats welcomes the Federal Government’s recent announcement to regulate packaging standards as it will provide national certainty and consistency for businesses. This is a positive signal for restaurants looking to shift to better packaging options. We know many restaurants are already making significant investments in packaging, and a unified national approach delivering consistency on minimum recycled content requirements, will only empower these larger enterprises to continue their investments,” said Nyst. 

“We believe the most significant impact Uber Eats can have in the immediate term is to educate and support small to medium-sized businesses working in the restaurant and catering industry. This is a multi-year journey, and by starting with Planet Ark’s educational resources, we’ll endeavour to help restaurants make the shift to more sustainable packaging.” 

Uber Eats is in a unique position to help reduce the impact of delivery food packaging on our environment. We have more than 50 thousand restaurant partners and millions of people using our platform each month.

As part of the program, Uber Eats will publish the educational materials developed with Planet Ark on our website – making the assets available to all restaurants – even those not on the platform. Uber Eats will provide research to the Restaurant & Catering Association to ensure materials are accessible to as many stakeholders across the restaurant ecosystem as possible.  

Restaurant & Catering Association CEO Suresh Manickamn said, “The R&CA is pleased to support this partnership between Uber Eats and Planet Ark and the positive impact this partnership will have in reducing the waste footprint of thousands of restaurants. Our industry is committed to being one that is sustainable and contributing positively to the wider community and environment. We look forward to witnessing the fruitful outcomes of this collaboration.”

The partnership and funding commitment was unveiled at the Palm House in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens and was catered by popular restaurants Lox in a Box and Cali Press. Both merchants have already taken steps to improve the packaging they use across their businesses. 

Lox in a Box CEO, Candy Berger said, “At Lox in a Box we place importance on the environment, from using sustainably sourced fish to our fully recyclable packaging. Being predominantly a takeaway shop it’s in these details that we can serve our customers and the planet better.”

Cali Press Founder & Director, Scott Glasson said “At Cali Press, we firmly believe that without a healthy planet, we can’t be healthy. This belief fuels our commitment to ethical and sustainable practices on all fronts. From implementing compostable packaging that truly decomposes to eliminating plastic straws and promoting reusable alternatives, we are dedicated to leading the way in cultivating a healthier world for us all.”

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will continue to aid restaurant partners and consumers globally by providing expert advice and educational materials.