How to Green Your Restaurant Delivery Packaging: 4 Tips
People used to think of sustainability as minimizing their water or electricity usage, but it’s clear that eco-friendly lifestyles go beyond those efforts. Green values watch for excess waste, like ordering delivery with single-use packaging. Using boxes and wrappers that utilize limited natural resources to carry food around for a few minutes expands any consumer’s carbon footprint and contributes to local landfills.
Restaurant owners can reduce their business’ carbon footprint and retain environmentally conscious consumers by adapting their delivery packaging. Read this guide to learn more about reusable, biodegradable and compostable materials, and other efforts that make food delivery sustainable.
1. Assess Your Current Packaging
Considering your restaurant’s existing packaging materials is the first step in creating a greener delivery system. Your inventory will reveal what materials you use and how often you restock them. Take note of these numbers, as you’ll need eco-friendly alternatives in the exact amounts.
You can also research the companies supplying each carry-out box, bag and wrapper. See if the brands have sustainable values or biodegradable products for environmentally conscious restaurant owners. It’s a simple way to improve your business’s carbon footprint.
Search for other brands with similar products if your preferred brands don’t have green delivery materials. As long as the manufacturing for each material doesn’t depend on limited natural resources, you’ll make a positive impact on the planet by switching.
Remember — a little switch can make a significant difference. Research shows 50% of plastic food packaging uses fossil fuels as an ingredient in each box’s manufacturing process. Opting for biodegradable containers would reduce your restaurant’s single-use waste and prevent your restock purchases from funding the fossil fuel industry.
2. Choose Eco-Friendly Materials
Before selecting any green delivery packaging, it’s crucial to understand the materials you’re buying. You’ll make more informed purchasing decisions by reading about eco-friendly materials like these before restocking your delivery supplies.
Biodegradable and Compostable Options
Numerous alternatives are available to restaurant owners who want to avoid plastic and styrofoam. Consider these compostable and biodegradable options while reviewing your purchasing budget:
- Brown kraft paper
- Sugarcane fiber wrappers
- Plant-based materials like corn or mushroom boxes
Giving consumers the power to compost their delivery packaging may retain more eco-friendly customers. They’ll appreciate that their food didn’t hurt the planet to reach their home and won’t become landfill pollution.
You could also revamp your packaging labels to help consumers identify your brand with eco-friendly values. Customers frequently pick restaurants based on factors like uniqueness, which relies on elements such as colors and font. Choosing earthy tones and casual fonts could clarify that your restaurant is more environmentally focused than your competitors and draw in sustainably-minded consumers.
Some customers won’t have compost bins at home and prefer to recycle things. Scrap aluminum and cardboard are excellent solutions for these consumers. They can place the materials in their matching recycling bins without changing their pickup schedule.
Consumers will trust your green packaging is recyclable if they also see your business investing in other green resources. Delivering food in an eco-friendly car model or installing solar panels would signify your commitment to the planet and long-term sustainable values.
Many businesses order custom glass containers for their products. Restaurants could create glass bottles for their signature coffees or other drinks. Glass to-go containers are another option for business owners with more extensive budgets.
3. Reduce Packaging Waste
You can also reevaluate the functionality of your restaurant’s delivery packaging. Consider if there are unnecessary elements like boxes bigger than your portion sizes. You might use two soup containers to make each serving more stable during delivery, which wastes an extra container.
Upgrading your delivery packaging materials to eco-friendly alternatives might solve some of the issues presented by your current options. Retrofit the sizes for each standard portion, ensure they’re stable enough to withstand each delivery and make the labels clear so every customer knows which is recyclable or compostable.
Consumers may also appreciate a program where they can return their original containers to reuse them. Coffee shops often do this. If the server sees a customer walk in with an empty branded cup, they provide a discount to refill it with the customer’s new order.
Incentives will help consumers get on board with a return program. They’ll keep their cups, bowls or boxes to gain the special discount, even if they don’t care about improving the environment. Other incentives could include free branded merchandise, desserts or beverages after a specific number of visits.
4. Communicate Your Green Initiatives
Any restaurant needs to announce the venue’s new green initiatives. Word of mouth will spread more slowly than commercials or virtual ads. Match your efforts to your target audience’s most frequented places, like local newspapers, billboards or banners.
Consider creating a social media marketing campaign about your restaurant’s new eco-friendly packaging. Highlighting your green efforts where consumers will see them outside of meal times will keep your brand in their minds more often. It also creates shareable posts for people to send to their loved ones who may not follow your accounts.
Make Your Delivery Packaging Green
Consumers are prioritizing sustainability in more than just their home lives. They also seek businesses that align with their eco-friendly values. Restaurants that switch to green delivery packaging stand to benefit from this change — all it takes is a plan of action.
Evaluate your current packaging to determine if any could be sustainable or needs to change. You can easily replace it with biodegradable, compostable or recyclable options, and start spreading the word about your green upgrades. Consider which materials work best with your budget and delivery options to make the best purchases possible.
Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.
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