A food delivery service which collects containers from customers after they are used it to launch in two more Scottish cities.

Every delivery by ecoeats is made using a bike or electric vehicle and a growing number are now being provided in reusable ecoboxes after £200,000 funding was awarded to the firm for a trial.

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

Prior to the pandemic it was estimated the UK’s consumers ordered more than 200 million meals via the industry’s three major companies – Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats – requiring more than a billion trays, lids and bags every year in a market worth in excess of £8 billion per annum.

A Lumina Intelligence Report has since suggested the market has grown to more than £11bn during the pandemic as more people turned to takeaway deliveries. 

The company says it offers reduced commission rates meaning independent restaurants make up to four times more profit from an order compared to one placed through multinational competitors such as UberEats, Deliveroo and Just Eat. Around 100 businesses have now made the switch. 

CEO Phil Houseley met co-founder and CTO Stewart McGown 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 and it has been extended to Glasgow and Dundee.

Mr Houseley 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. 

“We're incredibly proud to be based in Scotland, paying taxes in Scotland and creating local Scottish jobs, while every single customer, rider or merchant on our platform is actively making the world better by reversing the greenhouse emission and single-use plastic epidemic.”

The company is now aiming to replace single-use plastics and packaging across the whole of the UK's takeaways with the support of high-profile environmental campaigner Julia Davies. 

The entrepreneur and Green Innovation investor has invested in a number of companies tackling single use waste by promoting reusables, and is backing ecoeats with £200,000 to trial reusable containers for delivered food. 

She 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.”

The company is planning to offer its service in cities across the UK by the end of 2022.