A GLASGOW food delivery service is aiming to save the world – one takeaway at a time.

Revolutionary courier ecoeats is on a mission to tackle two of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions – packaging manufacture and transportation - by using bikes, electric vehicles and reusable ecoboxes.

Glasgow Times: Philip Housely and Stewart McGown, ecoeats co-founders (picture by Jeff Holmes)

Green businesses like ecoeats have supported the Glasgow Times Streets Ahead campaign since we launched it in 2011.

This year, as COP26 shines an eco-friendly spotlight on the city, our awardwinning initiative – supported by Glasgow City Council, City Charitable Trust and City Building – marks its 10th anniversary of encouraging communities to improve the city one street, park, garden, school and workplace at a time.

Stewart McGown, co-founder and CTO of ecoeats, said: “Glasgow is a special city full of people that care about the communities and areas they live in. What I love most about Streets Ahead is the way it empowers people, communities and businesses to take action, improve where they live, and make the city a greener place for everybody.

“With COP26 on our doorstep, sustainability is at the forefront of everybody’s mind, and businesses have a huge role to play both in their purpose and their actions. Streets Ahead has long been a force for good in championing the causes of sustainable businesses, and it will be more important than ever in the days, weeks, months and years following COP26.

Glasgow Times: Streets Ahead 2021

“It’s a rare and special thing to be recognised for your contribution to your community, and the positive impact of that recognition cannot be underestimated.”

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Stewart and co-founder Phil Housely met while studying at the University of St Andrews. More than 40 businesses quickly joined the service during a successful pilot in St Andrews, and ecoeats has already delivered almost 63,000 meals to customers in the town. Now close to 100,000 orders have been delivered through the ecoeats service with Glasgow and Dundee on board.

Phil said: “We believe in delivering a fairer deal to independent restaurants and our environment. I saw first-hand how poorly restaurant owners were treated with excessive commissions. I was also shocked at the volume of deliveries made by mainstream delivery companies using unbranded carbon-emitting vehicles, and the sheer waste in food delivery packaging.

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“With COP26 now upon us and the eyes of the world on Glasgow, this is the perfect place and time to begin to transform the takeaway industry from carbon producer to completely net-zero.”

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High-profile environmental campaigner Julia Davies is supporting ecoeats’ mission with a £200,000 investment to trial reusable containers.

Julia said: “The big players in the food delivery industry are dragging their heels in tackling the waste mountain they profit from. I’m delighted to be able to give ecoeats a leg-up as they begin to show that a better more sustainable way to eat is possible.”

Among those who have eschewed mainstream rivals, favouring the environmentally friendly alternative, is MAYZE. The vegan cafe is located on Argyle Street in Glasgow, just a short walk from where delegates from around the world will descend to discuss action on climate change.

Founder Gillian McIntyre said: "The sustainability of the future will be the result of the choices we make every day – choosing the right one is our responsibility and it's important that businesses take the initiative. A zero-emission delivery service is one of those simple choices and ecoeats is that choice.”

Participating restaurants deliver food using the ecoboxes, which are then collected by couriers at customers’ convenience, washed and sanitised, then put back into circulation.

Following the successful pilot project in St Andrews, customers in Glasgow and Dundee can now order takeaways via the ecoeats app (available on the app store). The company is planning to offer its service in cities across the UK by the end of 2022.