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Uber Eats will now send your delivery food in a reusable container — but it comes with a cost

"DeliverZero's data shows that the vast majority of customers who choose reusable packaging follow through on its return."

Sustainable food delivery with DeliverZero

Photo Credit: iStock

If you've ever ordered delivery and then felt guilty about all the flimsy plastic containers that ended up going straight into the recycling bin, there's good news on the horizon. 

Uber Eats just announced a pilot program in New York City that will test out the idea of sending customers reusable containers that can be returned to the restaurant — for just $1 extra.

Uber Eats is pulling this off by partnering with a company called DeliverZero

Here's how it works: First, you choose the reusable packaging option while placing your order for an extra $1 fee. Then, along with your food, DeliverZero will send you a text message with instructions for how to return the containers to a participating store or schedule a free-of-charge pickup.

For the Uber Eats drivers, nothing about the process will be different.

Eighty New York City restaurants will be participating in the pilot program. This is Uber Eats' first such program in the United States, but it has already started one in London.

There are no incentives for customers to follow through on returning the DeliverZero containers other than the fact that they already paid the $1 fee. According to Packaging Dive, about 70% of customers have returned their containers. 

"​​DeliverZero's data shows that the vast majority of customers who choose reusable packaging follow through on its return," Daniza Muliawan, senior manager for strategy at Uber, told PackagingDive.

Single-use plastics are a huge problem for the environment — an absurdly small percentage of them actually get recycled, and 10 million tons of plastic per year ends up in the oceans, where it kills 1 million marine animals annually. 

So it's encouraging to see Uber Eats taking its contribution to the problem seriously with actions and not just words.

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