Zero is a concept for an incentive-based food-delivery system by PriestmanGoode that could encourage consumers to use and return bioplastic containers to takeaway restaurants.
To discourage the use of single-use plastic for fast food boxes and bags, Zero would encourage consumers to change throwaway habits by offering an attractive alternative that could be reused again and again, reports Dezeen.
If produced for widespread use, the containers and bag would be made from sustainable materials such as cocoa bean shells, mycelium and pineapple husk. Zero's boxes would have a bento-style stacking system, ridding of the need for individual lids by placing each container on top of the other, with the base of one acting as the lid for another.
PriestmanGoode's design would work on a customer-rewards basis, where buyers would pay a small fee for the packaging when ordering the food, which would be reimbursed on their next delivery when the containers are returned to the delivery service provider.
Designed to be transferable between restaurants, the packaging would then be washed by the next food provider before being used again.
The firm wanted to redesign food delivery in a bid to lessen the environmental impact of so-called "convenience culture". This involved repositioning takeaway packaging as a desirable object that consumers would want to buy.
According to a 2019 report published by Azoth Analytics, the online food delivery and takeaway market is worth around £42.6 billion ($53.5 billion) per year globally. This figure is now expected to be higher as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to restaurants signing up to delivery platforms like Deliveroo and UberEats since lockdown measures were enforced.
The studio started the project before the global lockdown, but it has only become more relevant as restaurants turn to takeaway to serve customers in a socially distanced way.
"[Redesigning food delivery] has become even more important now, as there has been a rise in at-home dining," said associate director of strategy at PriestmanGoode Jo Rowan.
"It presents an opportunity for design to create something that can contribute to a sense of occasion, that is beautiful, practical and sustainable," she added. "As a society, we have to move away from a culture of disposables, and focus on principles of the circular economy."