The food delivery firm aims to transition restaurant merchants to reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging alternatives by 2030 and the funding will be used to stimulate more sustainable packaging uptake


Uber Eats and Planet Ark partner on sustainable packaging. (Credit: Uber Technologies Inc.)

Uber Eats has announced A$13m ($8.5m) in funding and a multi-year partnership with Australia-based Planet Ark to help Australian restaurants move towards more sustainable packaging options.

Under the first stage of this collaboration, the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures created a framework for Uber Eats.

The framework, which is subject to peer review, determines whether the packaging used by restaurants satisfies specific sustainability standards.

This includes determining what constitutes recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable materials, Uber Eats said.

The food delivery service provider aims to transition restaurant merchants to reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging alternatives by 2030.

In addition, the funds will be used over the next three years to stimulate more sustainable packaging uptake through programmes and subsidies.

This comes after a test programme in which Uber Eats provided access to A$1m in funding for small and medium-sized businesses to help them buy more environmentally friendly packaging through its packaging partner Detpak in Q4 of 2023.

Uber Eats ANZ general manager 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.”

Uber Eats intends to keep collaborating with firms in the business and government sectors to exchange information and tackle issues related to the packaging lifecycle.

As part of the initiative, the food delivery company will make the educational resources created in collaboration with Planet Ark available to all restaurants, even those that are not on the platform, by posting them on its website.

Uber Eats will also supply the Restaurant & Catering Association with research to ensure that materials are accessible to as many stakeholders across the restaurant ecosystem.

Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling said: “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.”