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HelloFresh Commits to Ocean-Bound Plastic Recovery Program

Meal kit company will advance environmental protection efforts while supporting impoverished communities
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
HelloFresh Commits to Ocean-Bound Plastic Recovery Program
HelloFresh's latest project with Plastic Bank furthers the meal kit company's active responsibilities to communities and sustainable practices.

With operations across the globe, meal kit company HelloFresh SE is helping to protect the planet by partnering with social enterprise Plastic Bank on establishing three plastic collection centers in Indonesia. The partnership will prevent plastic waste from entering the ocean by incentivizing individuals living in some of the world’s most polluted beach communities to collect littered plastics in exchange for needed goods, services and financial support. 

HelloFresh anticipates that in just three years, the program will recover 1.6 million pounds of material from coastal areas and support more than 560 local families living in poverty.

“We’re excited to step up our commitment against ocean-bound plastic and positively impact the environment and the individuals living in some of the world’s most polluted beach communities,” said Jeff Yorzyk, director of sustainability at HelloFresh U.S. “As a global company, the team at HelloFresh feels it is our responsibility to support the planet by doubling down on our existing sustainability commitments. It’s good for the business, better for the environment, and our customers can be confident that HelloFresh is a sustainable choice."

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Plastic Bank builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities and reprocesses the materials for reintroduction into the global manufacturing supply chain. Participants will receive goods and services including food, clean water, or school tuition for their children in exchange for collection efforts. The entire transaction is secured on a blockchain platform, which tracks every step of the journey, creating a credit history for increased financial opportunities. The collected plastic waste is recycled and reintegrated back into the plastic value chain as Social Plastic, which is manufactured into items such as bottles for household products, clothing, and more. 

In addition to reducing plastic waste, HelloFresh rolled out new sustainable packaging solutions last month. It partnered with Conyers, Ga.-based Pratt Industries Inc. to introduce cardboard packaging made of 100% post-consumer recycled content for its HelloFresh and EveryPlate meal kits. By using recyclable packaging made entirely from recycled content for the production and shipment of meal kits, HelloFresh is taking measurable steps to improve circularity of materials in the economy.

The company also implemented a new analytical Box Fit program, which assigns the smallest possible box size to a customer’s order based on the volume and size of contents. Using this enhanced algorithm in the fulfillment process has increased the use of HelloFresh’s smallest boxes to 60%, eliminating a significant amount of unnecessary packaging. The program additionally reduces the use of cold packs and insulation, while increasing the number of boxes that fit on a truck for distribution.

Sustainability has always been a fundamental part of HelloFresh’s operations. Leveraging a demand-driven subscription model, the company said that its sourcing, packing and shipping operations generate less food waste than the traditional food system. Additionally, the company noted that customers who prepare its meals at home discard at least 25% less food compared with meals made from grocery store-bought ingredients.

HelloFresh's recently published "Sustainability Report 2020" highlights key achievements in line with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. The business became the first global carbon-neutral meal kit company in 2020. 

Founded in Berlin, Germany, in November 2011, HelloFresh SE now operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France and Denmark. In Q1 2021, the company delivered 239 million meals and reached close to 7.3 million active customers. HelloFresh is No. 88 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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