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The main reason why most of us treat ourselves to a takeaway is because we don't have to bother with cooking - or, probably even more importantly, the washing up. But while that's a completely valid reason to order in, there's no denying the fact that all the accompanying packaging does little for the state of the environment.
We might still be a good way off from takeaways becoming completely eco-friendly, but Just Eat could well have something that's at least a step in the right direction: biodegradable sauce packets.
The takeaway giant will be trialling the 100 percent compostable and biodegradable Ooho! sauce sachets - which are made from seaweed - in 10 London restaurants, following a successful pilot in Southend earlier this year.
The products are made from alginate-based material, and degrade in around six weeks. You open them up just as you would with normal ones, before throwing them into the compost bin, or otherwise the normal bin, to decompose.
In the eight-week trial period, it's expected that the innovative sachets will stop approximately 40,000 plastic sauce packets entering homes in the capital.
The fully-compostable sauce packets were tested out in a pilot scheme at The Fat Pizza in Southend for six weeks over the summer,where more than 6,000 servings of ketchup were provided in the seaweed-based packaging.
Eighty-nine percent of customers from the trial said they would like to see more of their takeaway sauces coming in the seaweed based sauce sachets, while 83 percent found the sachets as easy to use as - or easier than - a normal sachet.
Graham Corfield, UK Managing Director of Just Eat, said: "At Just Eat, we're committed to tackling plastic pollution in the takeaway industry. We have already taken a number of measures to help reduce the amount of plastic used across the sector and drive environmentally-friendly behaviour across our network.
"We were delighted to see the first trial of seaweed based sauce sachets receive excellent feedback. It is a great initiative and these sachets are fast emerging as an alternative to the traditional plastic packaging. We're now looking forward to expanding this trial with some of our fantastic restaurant partners across London."
Pierre Paslier, Co-Founder, Skipping Rocks Lab, said: "We're thrilled to be working in partnership with Just Eat to expand the trial of our Ooho! Seaweed sauce sachets. They are 100 percent plant based, naturally biodegradable and decompose within six weeks, making them a natural and sustainable alternative to single-use plastic packaging.
"As a sustainable packaging start-up, we're passionate about finding credible alternatives to single use plastics and we're excited to see these sauce sachets be used more widely across London."
Restaurants currently trialling the sachets are: Jo and Za, Hackney; The Fat Pizza, Romford; Wise Guys Gourmet Burgers, Feltham; Fabs Chicken & Pizza, North Harrow; One Stop Caribbean, Harlesden; Huckleberry Chicken, Southgate; Kennedy's Fish & Chips, Tooting; Scoffs Grill, Hackney; Barbican Express, Barbican; and King Neptune, Plaistow.
Just Eat has also trialled a function on its app where users can opt out of receiving single-use plastic items, such as cutlery. By the end of the trial, 20 percent of customers had requested reduced plastic in their takeaway order.
Fingers crossed these measures will soon become the norm far and wide.
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