London-based design studio PriestmanGoode, as part of the Wallpaper* Re-Made project, has imagined a new, sustainable option for restaurant takeaway containers that is reusable and plastic foam-free.

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brown food containers next to a tan bag

As the desire for convenience and takeout food options increases in the world, so does the single-use plastic and other waste. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants that didn’t originally offer takeout are turning to the option in order to keep their businesses afloat, making environmentally friendly to-go options more important than ever.

Related: Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

three different sizes of brown food containers

Jo Rowan, Associate Director of Strategy at PriestmanGoode explained, “We wanted to re-think food delivery and takeaway in a bid to minimize the environmental impact of convenience culture.”

natural materials against dark red background

Called ZERO, the takeaway packaging checks many boxes when it comes to eco-friendliness. For one, it reintroduces the idea of reusable containers. Not that long ago, reusable was the norm, but at some point we became a disposable society, endangering the planet with material production and disposal. ZERO also provides an alternative to the standard plastic foam containers that typically can’t be recycled.

food inside brown reusable containers

To achieve zero waste, the idea is to charge the customer an upfront fee for the containers that is then reimbursed when the containers are returned for the next order. In addition to its usefulness as a takeaway alternative, the packaging offers a universal design that is transferable between restaurants. Plus, the containers offer temperature control during transport and delivery. These containers are also versatile and great to use at home, take on a picnic or carry lunch to the office.

brown food containers next to tan bag

The bioplastic for the containers, made from a byproduct of the cacao industry, is created by designer Paula Nerlich. Another notable material used for the insulation, designed by Ty Syml, is mycelium. For the food container and bag handles, Lexcell by Yulex provides a 100% plant-based, neoprene-free specialty natural rubber material. In addition, the outer bag comes from Nuatan by Crafting Plastics and is made from 100% raw, renewable resources, is biodegradable and can withstand high temperatures. Finally, Piñatex is used for the bag lid; Piñatex is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fibers extracted from pineapple leaves.

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Images via PriestmanGoode and Carolyn Brown