Alternative Food packaging Sustainability



The coronavirus crisis has altered our reality in the city: there is now more distance between us (1.5 metres as standard) and an even greater emphasis on safety and hygiene. The term ‘ultra-hygiene’ is already becoming widespread in the hospitality industry. You need to be able to demonstrate 100% safety to the guests. This means, for example, items are handled as little as possible, or they are designed for one-time use. By throwing something away, the risk of infection is eliminated. Problem solved, surely?


So, what exactly is the problem?


There is now pressure on people and businesses within the industry to reverse a number of already implemented circular measures because they do not sufficiently meet the hygiene demands that are expected. So rather than using less, we are using more single-use items and raw materials (think paper towels, menus, cutlery, packaging for meals and small single-serve packaging).


A number of hotels in Amsterdam are active members of the Circular Hotels Leaders Group and want to ensure circular standards are not completely dropped. Especially in light of the current situation, it is necessary to demonstrate that sustainability remains a core value while still meeting standards their guests can trust in too.

The assignment for startups

Consider alternatives for packaging food that meet hygiene measures intended to combat the spread of the coronavirus, but still embrace circular values. The goal is coronavirus-proof packaging and tableware: guaranteed to be safe to use, hygienic and without risk of contamination.



  • Solutions need to be accessible in the short term (i.e. no new technical innovations that still require lengthy periods of development);
  • The solution combines product design and influencing people’s behaviour (rather than encouraging the habit of using more disposable and single-use items);
  • It should be widely applicable to the hospitality industry (and eventually other sectors, such as healthcare);
  • It can be piloted in one or two hotels;
  • The solution should not put any additional demand on public space.


Issued by:

Sustainability; Planning and Sustainability