Despite positively impacting the ease of food preparation at home, meal kit companies and similar businesses focused on convenient eating also contribute to a pervasive problem: waste.
In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear.
A circular economy designs out waste and shakes up that “take, make, waste” pattern, to focus on reusability. To achieve this, products are designed to last and business processes are optimized to be as sustainable as possible.
At Fresh Prep, we set out to build a meal kit delivery service that was not only convenient but also minimized waste. From food to packaging and at every step of the meal kit journey. And that’s why we adopted a circular economy business model.
How does Fresh Prep’s circular economy work?
1) DELIVER We deliver our meal kits in reusable cooler bags with reusable ice packs. Many meals come in reusable meal kit containers too.
2) PICK UP We pick up any reusable items from customers along with any single use plastics when we drop off their next delivery
3) SANITIZE & RECYCLE We sanitize the cooler bags, ice packs and containers for reuse and recycle the soft plastics responsibly.
4) RE-USE The cycle starts all over again. Thanks to our customers for being part of our journey to zero waste and carbon neutrality. Together, we can make a difference.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the details…
Returnable & reusable items
Cooler bags and soft plastics
We deliver our meal kits in reusable cooler bags with reusable ice packs that are returned for sanitization and reuse. We take back any rinsed soft plastics. Customers simply place them back in the cooler bag and we recycle them responsibly through a partnership with Urban Impact, a leader in waste collection and recycling based in Vancouver and Calgary.
We deliver many meals in reusable containers we call Zero Waste Kits. Made from BPA-free reusable plastic and silicone parts, each Zero Waste Kit diverts around 19 grams of single-use plastic from landfill compared to traditional meal kits.
Zero Waste Kits are sanitized and reused many times. Customers rinse any kits they’ve used, put them back in the cooler bag and we pick them up when we deliver their next order.
Alarmingly, around 40% of food produced is wasted or lost in BC. Our meal kits come with pre-portioned ingredients that are not only easier to cook, but mean you don’t have to worry about vegetables or sauces expiring in your fridge.
We also work with Vancouver Food Runners, a registered Canadian charity fighting food insecurity, to redirect any surplus food we have to people, not landfills. The food is used to make meals for not-for-profit organizations. In 2021 Fresh Prep donated the equivalent of 47,847 meals for the food insecure.
Since the launch in March 2021, we’ve delivered a total of 1,335,476 meals in Zero Waste Kits. As a result of this, we’ve saved 12,687kg of plastic from landfill.
Our in-house delivery fleet facilitates our circular economy, dropping off and picking up reusable packaging from customers.
Through a partnership with Onfleet, our last mile delivery management software, we offset the impact of our fleet’s carbon dioxide emissions. With Onfleet, the CO2 impact of our delivery operations is calculated and we share costs to offset emissions by investing in Gold Standard, VCS, CAR and ACR verified nature conservancy projects such as reforestation and old forest protection.
Nurturing the future
We’ve heard time and time again about how individuals need to do more to address waste; the reality is businesses need to innovate to enable the solutions that consumers are increasingly demanding.
At Fresh Prep, we believe that sustainability in business is needed to protect our environment, and that every business – big or small – has a responsibility to help tackle the climate crisis. It’s why we set out to create a circular economy.