Leuven, together with the catering industry, is working on reusable takeaway packaging
Over the past ten years, the number of packaging that ends up in the rubbish bin after single use has risen sharply. With the Kombak project, the city of Leuven, Ghent’s IVAGO and Recycling Netwerk Benelux (RNB) want to limit the large amount of disposable packaging for takeaway and delivery meals. In the coming months, they will set up a circular chain for reusable takeaway packaging, in close collaboration with the catering industry. During the catering café yesterday afternoon, the city of Leuven and RNB discussed this for the first time with entrepreneurs from the Leuven catering industry.
“Anyone who occasionally orders or picks up a meal knows it: that tasty kebab or delicious sushi is wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic dishes, which you then throw in the rubbish bin. The mountain of waste continues to grow, while raw materials are becoming increasingly scarce. Our Moreover, garbage cans become overflowing and the packaging occasionally ends up in nature,” says alderman of waste policy Thomas Van Oppens. “Today it is still too difficult to opt for reusable packaging when you order or take out a meal. We want to change that. That is why we are rolling out a system of reusable takeaway packaging together with our catering industry in the coming months.”
With the Kombak project, the city of Leuven, Ghent’s IVAGO and RNB are setting up a circular chain for reusable packaging for takeaway and delivery meals in Leuven and Ghent. In doing so, they look for the best solutions: is it better to buy or rent the packaging? How is the transport to the catering establishments? Where and how do customers return their empty packaging? Who does the dishes? Do we work with a deposit system or do we provide a digital solution? By working in two cities at the same time, the initiators can test two variants of the same concept. The partners will do this in close cooperation with the hospitality industry, the packaging industry and the social economy. By the end of 2023, customers will be able to opt for a reusable meal tray at participating businesses.
“With this project we not only want to reduce the mountain of waste, we also want to support our catering industry in making the switch to reusable packaging”, said alderman of trade Johan Geleyns. “From the Leuven catering industry, there is already a lot of enthusiasm for this initiative. No less than 28 entrepreneurs showed interest in it. We will also consult with them regularly during the further development of the project and we hope that more catering establishments will join in the coming months at Kombak. In this way, our catering industry is also a partner in our ambition to make Leuven a circular city.”
The Kombak project was realized thanks to a subsidy of 100,000 euros in the context of the Green Deal Anders Verpakt of the Flemish government. It wants to reduce single-use packaging and give the transition to a circular economy a boost. The Kombak project will run until the end of 2024. Similar projects are underway in Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam.