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It’s not a question we like to think about, especially as a news site that covers food and meal delivery.

But it’s an important one to ask, “are meal delivery services bad for the environment?”

There’s no doubt that the services create new waste, and with compared to buying groceries from a local super market, all the packaging and delivery emissions add up.

The New York Times recently profiled the industry’s waste problem, and found that while the convenience of meal delivery is impossible to deny, the services are dumping tons of plastic on China.

It does seem like some meal delivery services are focusing on improving their waste problem, with compostable packaging, or more eco-friendly deliveries (hybrid vehicles, bicycles when possible, etc). But at the end of the day the convenience of meal delivery is creating more waste.

We’ll be tracking along with these numbers more closely in the coming months, so stay tuned.