ecoeats: St Andrews’ Very Own Zero Emissions Delivery
by Ellie King, member of the ecoeats team
Ecoeats is putting community and sustainability at the top of our mission to revolutionise the delivery industry. Two St Andrews students launched the service, Philip Houseley and Stewart McGown, with the goal of reducing emissions while protecting the revenue of local businesses. Although only a few months old, ecoeats has already partnered with over 10 independent restaurants and an independent grocer, and has delivered over 2000 orders to the community.
How it Works
Run by students of the University in partnership with local businesses, ecoeats delivers anything from a Friday night fish ‘n chips to your weekly groceries. We deliver 7 days a week, with zero delivery emissions!
Our partners include the groceries and health foods store Birchwood Food Emporium, as well as local restaurant favourites around St Andrews: Blackhorn Burgers, CombiniCafé, CombiniCo, Cottage Kitchen, Cromars, Little Italy, Maisha, Rocca Deli, Tailend, and Ziggy’s.
Simply visit ecoeats.uk or download the ecoeats app, decide what mood you are in (always a tough decision!), and place your order. Once your order is submitted, it goes straight to our partner to prepare your food; whether it be home-baked pizza, locally-sourced fish ‘n chips, or just your weekly shop. It is then promptly picked up by one of our riders and delivered straight to your door, emissions free.
Both the website and app were created in-house by St Andrews-based developer Stewart McGown. As such, we are continually evolving alongside customer feedback: snappier menu formats, notifications and live order updates, as well as optional Google Pay and Apple pay -all working to streamline your order. Behind the scenes, there is always your ecoeats team!
Building a Sustainable Delivery Industry
Globally, the delivery industry is set to increase its emissions by a third by 2030. This is as populations get more urban, smaller and faster deliveries exacerbate inefficiencies of combustion-engine delivery, and as e-commerce grows at a faster and faster rate. Urban deliveries are also predicted to rise 78% by 2030. This means denser emissions, up to 11 minutes more congestion, and 36% more vehicles on the roads (World Economic Forum, 2020).
In such an overwhelmingly carbon-intensive industry, ecoeats is aiming to reframe the narrative that you need emissions in order to deliver. All our deliveries are made either by bike, or by 100% electric transport. That means no greenhouse gas emissions and no noxious particles – just clean delivery from us to you.
Our focus on bike delivery also helps promote active lifestyles, reduces congestion, and provides flexible part-time jobs for both locals and students. In such a close-knit town as St Andrews, community deliveries can help strengthen ties between our businesses, students, and the local community as we move towards a sustainable future.
Not Just Zero Emissions
Particularly in the wake of Covid-19, much disruption has come to our everyday lives and independent businesses have been hit particularly hard, so we want to do everything we can to support them. From 17 March to 26 May 2020, we ran our Independent Restaurant Support Scheme through which we rebated earnings during this period – back to our partners – taking a net loss in the process, to support our partners.
We have seen community deliveries become a way to connect with local businesses more than ever. In the face of threats from revenue loss to permanent closure, ecoeats wanted to ease the financial pressure to independent businesses. It was important to us to support the local businesses we are so thankful to be partnered with. They are, after all, the life and soul of commerce here in St Andrews, and we stand by them.
Other efforts of course include ensuring contact-free delivery, as well as additional safety measures for both staff and customers to ensure safe delivery for all in our community. ecoeats has also been working to improve delivery access across St Andrews. We realised that there was otherwise no way for those who are self-isolating and are less comfortable with technology to order from Cromars or Tailend over the internet. We therefore introduced our fish ‘n chip delivery scheme: until 10 June, we offered delivery to one self-isolating person per day for over-the-phone delivery, free of charge. We also run coupon raffles for our everyday heroes: more information about our community support schemes is available on our Facebook, @ecoeatsdelivery.
Beyond these exceptional times, both community and sustainability will be an ongoing part of ecoeats’ ethos. We ensure a highly competitive rate for both our delivery riders and our partners, such that is both fair and values the amazing work they do. We are also always looking for new ways to engage with both the student community and the local community here in St Andrews. We appointed our Community Champion, to ensure we stay in touch with, and best serve, the people around us. If you would like to get in touch, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking to get more involved with the people around us. This is, after all, our St Andrews community!
Recent additions also include the introduction of our ecoeats blog, blog.ecoeats.uk, where you can read up on sustainable and environmental issues and solutions, within the world of sustainability. We are also working to include healthy-mind, healthy-body content, to provide support for our customers with more than just a cheeky take-away. For general news updates, we are active on both Facebook and Instagram at @ecoeatsdelivery, and we hope to be releasing a monthly newsletter for all our customers and partners, with a special edition for our delivery partners, coming soon.
ecoeats is part of the ongoing effort in St Andrews to make our town a more sustainable, more supportive place. At least for the delivery sector, we are available at ecoeats.uk, and we are always committed to delivering a fairer deal. That means fairer for our independent restaurants, our customers, our environment, and our community.