Lake Baikal Foundation continues to introduce the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses that conduct their business on Lake Baikal and strive to become more environmentally friendly. One of the winners of the grant competition «Green Steps» in the nomination «Green corporate culture» is the restaurant «Voyage» from Ulan-Ude. Its team is implementing a reusable container system for food delivery.
Lake Baikal Foundation has allocated a grant of 143 thousand rubles to the restaurant. With this help, «Voyage» purchased reusable containers, thermos bags and uniforms for couriers, and also maked leaflets with information about the new eco-service. The Director of the restaurant Irina Pronkina told us what prompted «Voyage» to develop eco-packaging and what benefits this project can bring to Ulan-Ude.
— Why did you decide to switch to reusable containers?
Environmental friendliness and nature conservation have long been the values of our company. But the pandemic forced us to pay attention to the packaging problem. During isolation, people were deprived of their usual opportunities: to go to a restaurant, cafe or bar or just regularly buy food in supermarkets. In a few weeks, these familiar rituals were replaced by food delivery. According to experts, this segment has more than quadrupled in 2020. So far, this trend has not changed and is likely to remain unchanged for several more years.
With the development of the home delivery service, the amount of plastic waste that people rarely hand over for recycling is also growing. In nature such plastic decomposes up to several hundred years. We decided to develop our company’s environmental responsibility and introduce eco-friendly food delivery in reusable returnable containers.
— You launched a pilot project in September 2021. How did customers react to the innovations?
During the first month of the trial implementation of the project, we noted that this service was in demand by customers. In September and October 2021, 20% of orders from our restaurant were issued in reusable containers. When ordering takeaway, we offer customers about this possibility, then the courier brings the order and waits until the person puts the food in his dishes and returns the containers. But for now, many people are still more accustomed to using delivery in a disposable container that does not need to be returned. In this case, we send customers a leaflet along with the order about the advantages and benefits of eco-friendly delivery, we also tell about it on our website and in social networks. This contributes to the formation of a responsible and careful attitude to nature.
— How do employees feel about the idea of eco-packaging?
The whole team reacted positively to the idea of organizing food delivery in return containers. As a team, we come up with and develop environmental practices within the framework of our project, conduct «five minutes», look for opportunities to save electricity and water, discuss proposals for greening our work and the effectiveness of implemented eco-initiatives.
— Are your fellow restaurateurs from Ulan-Ude discussing the introduction of reusable containers? Do you think your project can become an example for other cafes?
Reusable packaging in Ulan-Ude has been introduced so far only by us. But we hope that we will be able to attract the attention of not only consumers, but also other representatives of the restaurant business, and contribute to the conservation of nature and the reduction of plastic waste.
Since 2021, Lake Baikal Foundation has been implementing a grant contest for small and medium-sized businesses on Lake Baikal with «Green Steps». The purpose of the contest is to contribute to the dissemination of sustainable environmental practices and the introduction of green technologies among entrepreneurs of the Baikal region, as well as to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda in the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia. The project is being implemented with the support of the Asia-Pacific Bank.