93. Cauli

Championing “takeaway, without the throwaway”, CauliBox is a tech-enabled reusable solution seeking to minimise single-use food packaging waste.

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Founders: Ming Zhao and Josephine Liang
Founded: 2019
Website: wearecauli.com

Outdoor-dining – otherwise known as street food – has quickly grown into a national phenomenon made up of multicultural flavours and cold bums.

Sadly, there’s a flipside to this flipping fab alfresco food. Around 11 billion pieces of packaging waste are produced every year from food-on-the-go, and the increase in disposable food and drink wrapping has also cooked up a big lift in street litter.

Living in London, Zhao and Liang enjoyed the vibrant street food scene around their offices but noticed “the office bins were constantly piled up with takeout food packaging”.

Around 11 billion pieces of packaging waste are produced every year from food-on-the-go

They decided to do something about it and, after many late-night brainstorming sessions, the two launched CauliBox. Setting up with just £200 and one street food stall, the startup now caters for hundreds of people every day with its recyclable, planet-friendly boxes.

Largely operating as a B2B service model, the pair have partnered with large employers with on-site canteens such as staff restaurants, financial institutions in Canary Wharf, and various NHS Trust hospitals.

“Often eco-friendly waste disposal is not economical, making it difficult [for businesses],” explains Zhao. “Cauli provides an accessible and affordable waste solution that makes disposal easier for everyone.”

This is no throwaway line. CauliBox’s pioneering, QR-scanning technology means its reusable boxes can be borrowed and returned rather than discarded.

Cauli provides an accessible and affordable waste solution that makes disposal easier for everyone.

As a result, it was on track to divert more than 300,000kg of CO2 emissions by the end of last year, giving clients added-value through impact stats for their net zero goals (CauliBox received the NHS Sustainability Partnerships Innovation Award in 2021).

CauliBox is serving up a tasty, guilt-free packaging solution for today’s climate-conscious businesses. Having made it into our top 100 list for 2023, could we be helping ourselves to seconds next year?

Judging by CauliBox’s big ambitions to be in more than 600,000 locations, and “the go-to solution for workplace dining, festivals, and events,” it’s certainly likely.

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