Oct 03, 2021

First Mile teams up with CLUBZERØ

Words by Louise Frith

Let's talk about takeaway packaging. Specifically, that 2.5 billion disposable cups and half a billion disposable plastic takeaway boxes are used each year in the UK alone. And demand is growing in the UK, with 2020 and 2021 seeing record increases in the demand for takeaway.

First Mile can recycle a lot of this packaging, but we are excited to be going a step further by supporting a new initiative that provides an innovative solution to the problem of waste from food and drink packaging: CLUBZERØ is a global, award-winning, returnable packaging service designed for hot and cold drinks as well as takeaway food containers. Its mission is to eliminate single-use packaging altogether.

CLUBZERO are committed to making London a zero-waste city, and founder and CEO Safia Qureshi recognises that, with 70% of the world’s population living in cities, there is an urgent need to find a better, more optimised way of distributing food and beverages.

Data from CLUBZERØ’s pilot scheme in Palo Alto, California, shows an incredible 95% return rate for their reusable packaging (versus an industry standard of 60%), with over one million single-use plastic items and 15.9 tonnes of CO2 saved.

Supported by First Mile and Camden Council, CLUBZERØ has now launched in King’s Cross and provides reusable containers and cups to replace disposables in cafés and retailers. Designed to keep food and drink hotter or cooler for longer, the reusable containers use up to 50% less CO2 than packaging that ends up in landfill.

Once customers have downloaded the CLUBZERØ app and registered, they can find participating restaurants and cafés in the King’s Cross area. After they’ve finished with their used containers/cups, they can return them to participating cafés or retailers, or deposit them in their office CLUBZERØ box (if their office joins the scheme).

First Mile collects the used containers and cups, sends them to a facility to be washed and sanitised, then delivers the clean products back to the cafés or retailers, ready to be used again. The fleet used by First Mile to collect the containers is 100% electric.

So, if you live or work in King’s Cross, you can now make a sustainable choice even when you’ve forgotten your own cup.

The first food and drink brands on the King’s Cross Estate to be taking part in the scheme are Notes Coffee, who offer speciality coffee, craft beers, wines and seasonally inspired food, and Hiden – Japanese Curry Lab, an independently owned Japanese Curry speciality shop in Coal Drops Yard.

CLUBZERØ and First Mile are also working together on a trial with Just Eat, which will allow takeaways to be delivered in reusable packaging, then collected from homes.

Our global dependence on convenience food and drinks packaging is simply not sustainable. Every one of us has a part to play in fixing that and working towards the ultimate goal of zero waste.

By Louise Frith

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