Just Seaweed

25 July 2018 | Jo Doverman

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently (although in this heatwave, probably not a bad shout), then you’ll be fully aware of the trend to reduce our consumption of single-use plastics.

From super-cool ‘keep cups’ for your daily coffee or aluminium water bottles, to bamboo toothbrushes and reusable on-the-go cutlery, there is pretty much a single-use plastic replacement for anything these days. Since saving the environment became cool, with environmental influencers on social media leading the way, brands have been designing the trendiest of products to replace ugly plastic waste.

Through fear of the human race destroying the planet one plastic bag at a time or just for the joy of carrying around a mega-trendy water bottle, I think the world’s population is slowly coming to terms with reducing their single-use plastic waste. And nobody wants to see the oceans like this…

For brands, it’s also another way to make money and it looks good for their image. For years, chains such as Starbucks have produced reusable coffee cups for their customers which change seasonally. This offers the chance to collect and keep, as well as reduce the need for the non-recyclable paper coffee cups.

The latest brand to jump on this trendy band wagon is Just Eat. The online food ordering firm has just started a six-week trial of compostable sachets made from seaweed – collaborating with Skipping Rocks Lab - in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic used by its UK restaurant partners. A whopping 11 billion plastic condiment sachets are sold globally – that’s a whole lot of waste plastic!

The seaweed sachets can be discarded in your home compost or even in normal household bins, as the product will decompose in six weeks. The small-scale trial is beginning with a pizza restaurant in Southend, but I’d like to think other restaurant partners will also want a slice of the action (ha…ha…)

Just Eat is also working with the ‘Sustainable Restaurant Association’ to develop a bunch of resources for its restaurant partners and customers to help them reduce their reliance on single-use plastic. All in all, Just Eat is doing its bit!

I can certainly see this move from Just Eat catching on, but hopefully it won’t take any more heart-breaking videos of animals using waste plastic as their homes or straws being dissected from their little bodies before the world wakes up for good.

This is of course great PR for the company and Just Eat will have won over the hearts of environmental warriors across the UK. We can all do our bit, but it just takes time. You soon realise your toothpaste, washing up liquid, shampoo, cleaning products, make-up… are all in single use plastic containers. So, it’s a hefty task to go plastic free.

I hope the seaweed packaging idea goes far beyond the six-week trial – here’s to the death of single-use plastics across the board and more trendy PR opportunities for everyone!