The convenience of home meal delivery is undeniable. Getting food delivered to your door that does not require cooking or cleaning is a huge time-saver. But is home meal delivery sustainable from an environmental perspective? When you think about all the required packaging and delivery trucks, the environmental impact could outweigh the convenience factors. That’s why Eatflavorly strives to find the most environmentally sustainable packaging and shipping methods. Here are some of the ways that demonstrate Eatflavorly’s commitment to sustainability.
Minimizing Food Waste
Before getting into packaging and shipping, let’s consider how home meal delivery helps reduce food waste. EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, constituting 22 percent of municipal solid waste.
Food waste occurs for many reasons and in different forms. For example, spoilage occurs at every stage of the production and supply chain. Between the farm gate and retail outlet, food loss can arise from problems during drying, milling, transporting or processing. These problems expose food to damage by insects, rodents, birds, molds and bacteria. At the retail level, equipment malfunction (such as faulty cold storage), over-ordering and culling of blemished produce can result in food loss. Incredibly, about 43 percent of all food waste occurs in consumers’ homes. Ordering Eatflavorly’s frozen, prepared meals means that you won’t be buying and cooking more than you need and throwing out the extras.
According to the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, on average diners leave 17 percent of their meals and 55 percent of edible leftovers renains at the restaurant. This is partly due to the fact that portion sizes have been increasing significantly over the past 30 years. In fact, portions are often two to eight times larger than USDA or Federal Drug Administration (FDA) standard servings. By using a meal delivery service like Eatflavorly’s you are helping to avoid wasting food by ordering individual portions that are the right size for your appetite.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
You may not realize it but sustainable home meal delivery means helping reduce carbon emissions. A new study published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling finds that the average grocery store meal is responsible for 33% more greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent dish from a meal kit. At Eatflavorly we take pride in helping do our part in reducing carbon emissions. We pay attention to shipping weight (which can contribute to carbon emissions) by using dry ice rather than heavy gel packs to keep food frozen. Since the dry ice is frozen CO2, and has a net neutral CO2 emission, the melting dry ice doesn’t add any more CO2 to the atmosphere than was there prior to freezing. Meanwhile our Go-Green rigid PP trays are produced with an innovative proprietary process that uses less plastic during manufacturing, resulting in a 28% lower carbon footprint compared to conventional thermoforming.
Avoiding BPA Plastics
BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a compound which is found in hard plastics. Ideally you don’t want BPA anywhere near your food. This is because it will imitate/disrupt natural hormones which can lead to a number of nasty developmental problems putting pregnant women especially at risk. Additionally, materials that contain BPA eventually release the compound back into the environment, which is bad for plants, animals and humans. Eatflavorly’s packaging is 100% BPA-free and it is a good idea to make sure everything else you consume is too.
One part of meal kit packaging that can cause concern is the gel ice packs that keep food fresh. As early as 2016, the APR began getting reports from reclaimers and material recovery facilities about the insulation from meal kit services showing up in their supply streams. These are difficult to recycle due to the rigorous clean and dry steps needed for plastics. Moreover they often contain chemicals that need special disposal. Here at Eatflavorly we use only dry ice which is free of chemicals and does not pollute the environment.
Eatflavorly’s meals arrive in vacuum-sealed trays with ice packs and insulation, all inside a box with an Eatflavorly sticker. We use these materials and methods to ensure your meals arrive as fresh and safely as possible. To an eco-conscious person, this may seem like a lot of packaging just to save time in the kitchen. Luckily, we think the same way; therefore, we ensure all of our packaging is not only 100% BPA-free but recyclable too. For instance, our cardboard boxes, padding, trays and meal sleeves are all curbside recyclable.
Many popular meal delivery companies focus more on the appearance than the eco-friendliness of their packaging. On the other hand, Eatflavorly purposefully works against this stereotype. Every piece of packaging is intentionally chosen to ensure sustainable home meal delivery. If you have any ideas that would make us even more eco-friendly, contact us, we are always researching more sustainable ways to do things. Interested in reading more about sustainability? Try our blog on 6 Characteristics of Sustainable Food.