Plastic (and styrofoam) disposables such as takeaway containers, cups, plates, bowls, utensils, sauce containers and plastic bottles still make up the most common form of waste disposed at incineration plants in Singapore.
In the fast-paced, work-intense modern life, single professionals as well as families find it easy, convenient and affordable to order take-away food. This in turn, generates an enormous amount of food containers being discarded every day.
We are proposing a systems-based solution to replace disposable plastic food packaging for food delivery and takeout for households and office workers that still affords them the degree of convenience they are used to.
Reusable containers will reduce the need for single-use plastic containers and related items. It will significantly reduce waste. The use of sustainable materials for design and manufacturing of containers also needs to be explored. (Reusable alternatives such as stainless steel, glass and durable plastic are available but are not used because of high cost, high value, weight and lack of an efficient system).
We propose to utilise the existing food delivery network (e.g. Deliveroo, Food Panda, Uber Eats) as well as other third party logistics to be partners in this system that already connects restaurants and customers. These organisations will also optimise their carbon emissions or footprint by transporting more on each trip!
A group of restaurants will be participating in the system such that customers will always have a large variety of food options.
There is also a business opportunity as a second partner (such as a PWC - public waste collector - e.g Sembcorp, Veolia) that would provide the service of collecting (?), washing and redistributing the items back to restaurants (perhaps together / or by delivery ppl). The system will be credits/deposit-based, such that ensures return of the containers to the central facility. Such system will allow restaurants and consumers to reuse containers thus reducing costs, but remaining convenient and accessible and making delivery and take-out food market more environment friendly.
With Singapore being so small, isolated, well connected and relatively organised, we believe it’s possible to test and scale such a scheme into this ‘living lab’ called Singapore.
The business/system and containers could be owned nationally, by a private organisation or by a new entity.
We feel our idea straddles 1. Products to People – Reimagine Delivery Models, 2. Reimagine the Package – Design for Zero Waste and 3. Local Design – Global Impact
We haven't had enough time to develop visuals or forms etc but we have thought through the system and potential partnerships more as well as what might be needed.