British online and app food order and delivery service Just Eat has partnered with packaging company Notpla to create world-first seaweed-lined box for the takeaway sector.

Three of Just Eat’s London restaurant partners are included in the initial trialling phase, which will assess the possibility of using the packaging with other Just Eat partners.

An estimated 500 million plastic takeaway boxes from across the UK takeaway industry end up in landfill a year. The trial is expected to stop 3,600 plastic boxes entering the waste stream.

Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “The takeaway food industry creates a mountain of waste and plastic pollution every year, so we welcome Just Eat’s efforts in trying to improve the situation.

“With hundreds of millions of takeaway meals ordered through delivery firms every year, the industry must make the development of sustainable, non-harmful packaging solutions a top priority. While waste reduction and the use of reusables should be the ultimate goal, we hope this is a great step on that journey.”

The box is lined with seaweed and is suitable for recycling or home-composting, and degrades in four weeks. The box is made of a tree and grass pulp cardboard, which is water-resistant and greaseproof.

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Just Eat managing director Andrew Kenny said: “At Just Eat, we are committed to using our scale and influence to drive a more sustainable future for the food delivery industry. From removing single-use plastics to pioneering the use of seaweed sauce sachets, we’ve already taken a number of positive steps to encourage more environmentally-friendly behaviour among our restaurant partners.

“Over half a billion plastic boxes are used across the takeaway industry every year and we know that, eventually, they end up in landfill. This is why we’ve been working closely with Notpla to create an innovative alternative that is recyclable, home-compostable, and which degrades in a matter of weeks. We’re delighted to bring this new takeaway box to trial and look forward to assessing the results with the aim to roll these boxes out across the UK and our other markets so that customers across the globe can enjoy their favourite takeaways more sustainably.”

Notpla co-CEO Pierre Paslier said: “Cardboard takeaway boxes either contain synthetic additives or are lined with plastic. With this box, we are offering a real plastic-free, naturally biodegradable option for the takeaway market. Just Eat is a great driver for more sustainable packaging and we’re really excited to help them shake up the industry.”

The trial follows a Just Eat and Notpla pilot to use seaweed-based sauce sachets in restaurants. The sachet trial has so far prevented over 46,000 plastic sachets entering customer homes.