DeliverZero, a New York-based provider of reusable container systems, is expanding to Los Angeles, per an announcement Thursday.
To start, select LA-area restaurants will enable customers to opt for reusable food containers as part of the online ordering process. “Once food is delivered to the consumer by the restaurant or third party delivery service, the consumer receives a text from DeliverZero to initiate pickup of the container, which is then washed and returned to the restaurant for reuse,” according to the announcement.
For the rollout, DeliverZero is partnering with local last-mile logistics startup Gently, which operates an all-electric delivery fleet and “nano fulfillment centers” throughout the greater LA area.
"The biggest argument against reuse is that it's too complicated and costly. With the right logistics — affordable, fast, and consistent — reuse works,” said DeliverZero CEO Lauren Sweeney in a press release. The partnership marks Gently’s first foray into the reusables vertical.
DeliverZero first launched in New York City in 2019. The company now serves 200 restaurants in New York, Denver and Boulder, Colorado, as well as select Whole Foods locations in Colorado.
Uber Eats began its first U.S. reuse pilot earlier this year, with DeliverZero as its partner. Launching with more than 80 participating restaurants, the pilot was set up for customers to be able to order as normal via Uber Eats and pay $1 fee to add reusable packaging. DeliverZero was also integrated with the Toast restaurant app this year.
Sweeney said earlier this year that funding has been a challenge. “Our biggest barrier really has been fundraising — finding seed-stage investors who understand the size of the opportunity here,” Sweeney said, as reported by a U.S. Chamber of Commerce publication. At the time, DeliverZero named Los Angeles as a target for expansion, along with Chicago; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Austin, Texas.