Check your UberEats packaging before recycling or composting in Australia!! Some eco-packaging can only go in landfill which is disappointing in this day and age when it's not too hard to use compostable and recyclable options.
I've only ordered UberEats a few times, and it's usually after a long week and a messy dysfunctional kitchen that makes me succumb to the temptation. From the surface, the packaging looks pretty eco-friendly and sustainable but so far I have found it to be a bit hit and miss with recyclability and I feel I'm being given packaging that I don't want and that at times, is harmful to the environment.
I DID like the idea of having my food delivered by bicycle until I also discovered this to be mostly untrue. Apparently, when signing up to be a driver, your car is supposed to not be too old....so I assume this is a way for old car drivers out there to still deliver, but pretend to be biking it. This is disappointing, but I haven't formally complained as I suspect those delivery drivers probably don't get paid much, have little to no training and are just trying to make a buck and aren't focussed on fuel emissions.
Ok, lets get onto the UberEats Australia packaging...Can it be recycled, composted or not? .......
UberEats Kraft Paper Bags
Made from up to 50% recyclable materials, are made locally within Australia and are totally recyclable in your kerbside bins but, they may not necessarily as eco-friendly as you think. Paper is degradable and if soiled with food, these can head into your green organics bin, but if placed in landfill can cause nasty methane emissions which we want to avoid.
Paper bags still use precious resources to create and reusing them is a better option before disposing thoughtfully. They can often only be used a handful of times before they break in our experience and from what I can tell, there isn't an easy way to get your order without the bag.
Cutlery - No Thanks!
Now, the type of cutlery you receive will largely depend on where you live, and where you order from.
I do find it slightly strange that when getting a home delivery, there is some kind of assumption that you wouldn't own any cutlery.....or would prefer to use disposables.
I'm thinking if you can afford UberEats, you can also afford to own a knife and fork.
Here's what we received recently which is known as Biocutlery. Sounds great, right?
Well, I thought so, until I read the package which said it was made from 'Plastarch' which is a bioplastic made from 70% Plant-starch (awesome!) and 30% Polypropylene (NOT awesome!). This apparently has a smaller carbon footprint to normal plastic cutlery BUT you CANNOT RECYLCLE Plastarch as it contains starchy stuff. You also CANNOT COMPOST it as it contains 30% plastic. So although its cheaper than 100% plant based bioplastic, is heat resistant and has some environmentally friendly attributes, it is actually a really crap item to send people. AND I cant even work out what is supposed to happen to the plastic bag it came in as it doesn't say if that can be composted or must head to landfill. Disappointingly ours also came with an unneeded serviette and those stupid sing-serve salt and pepper sachets.
If you're receiving 100% bioplastic, then that's fantastic and some restaurants and cafes may send your order with bamboo or wooden cutlery that is produced from sustainable sources and is degradable and compostable.
There is no means of checking what you will be receiving until your order arrives.
My suggestion is, if you are eating at home, request NO cutlery and use the old fashioned knives and forks you already have in the kitchen drawer.
Polystyrene? ...WTF UberEats?
Yes, I didn't think this was possible, but delivered to us was an actual foam food container....telling me to Have a Nice Day. NOT easily recyclable, NOT compostable and really terrible for the environment, what more can I say about this but get your act together people. This made me feel guilty about the dessert I was enjoying...shouldn't churros packaging be guilt free?
Other Food Containers
Again, depending where you order, you might receive cardboard food containers or those known as Biopak. The cardboard is easily recycled through your green organics kerbside collection (Just remember to remove the plastic coated paper they put the food on first.)
The Biopak containers are generally made from renewable and reclaimed sugarcane pulp meaning these are made from materials that were heading to the trash. NOW these I LOVE!
I checked them out and these are apparently refrigerator safe so no need to ditch your leftovers, and they are microwave safe too (I didn't try this). These can be safely put into your green organics bin too as they are commercially compostable. In fact, this particular brand of food packaging really impressed me and you can read more about how they operate here.
I don't want to make too many assumptions about whose fault the un-recyclable packaging may be.
I know that UberEats Australia have many terms and conditions for those that partner with them, and they do seem to have a fairly high level of control over what packaging can be used.
As consumers, we can vote with out wallets and refuse what we can, but overall, but until the big companies take a stronger stance we are kinda stuck with what's on offer. It's still early days for aussies and uber, so I'm hopeful this will change in the near future, but for now, I might have to try and not be so lazy!
What are your thoughts?
Have you been impressed or distressed with your UberEats packaging? ....and how can we hungry people get this to change faster?