Kayli Dale and Jacqueline Hutchings
Congratulations to Kayli Dale and Jacqueline Hutchings (BASc ’20) for making Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for 2023. The pair, who met just before their first undergraduate lecture, are the co-founders of Friendlier, a company dedicated to eradicating single-use plastics in food businesses.
Their vision is a world without single-use packaging, where all products and materials are recovered in a circular supply chain. As chemical engineering students, they understand the importance of sustainability and circular economy.
“Chemical engineering is involved in each step along the supply chain for packaging products, from raw material extraction to manufacturing, to waste management,” said Dale. “By designing more durable products that can be sanitized and reused, we can significantly reduce the climate impact of packaging from a life cycle perspective.”
The inspiration for Friendlier came from an experience during their undergraduate program when the pair travelled to Sweden for a four-month study program. In Sweden, they observed conscious consumerism and business models that took responsibility for stewardship of the environment.
Hutchings and Dale started Friendlier during the last co-op term of their undergraduate program. They were working toward developing a reusable cup system for event venues and had pilots planned for summer 2020 after graduation.
When the global pandemic hit, the pilots were cancelled. Seizing the opportunity that was created by the move to takeout by all restaurants, they pivoted to address the growing takeout waste problem and ended up building a much more robust reusable packaging system.
“We wanted to create change with our careers and didn't feel like we could achieve what we were going for without starting our own business,” Dale commented. “We were inspired by concepts in Europe that we'd seen, but that we knew would not work in North America without significant innovation.”
Friendlier, whose name sprung from the desire to be friendlier to the environment, now provide reusable containers to over 140 food businesses across Ontario, including Loblaws, Aramark and Skip the Dishes.
Their background in Chemical Engineering has informed them when sourcing materials and determining what is safe for reuse.
“The world needs circular packaging,” said Hutchings. “Since starting Friendlier, we have grown to support brands across Ontario, being recognized by Forbes is a reminder that this is a relevant problem across the globe with huge potential.”
Friendlier enables reuse within the existing supply chain, minimizing changes businesses and their customers require. Dale and Hutchings understand that sustainable products must be affordable, simple, and accessible to truly create change, so Friendlier integrates technology that powers a network of drop-off points across Ontario. As a result, they have diverted more than 15,000 lbs of waste from landfills.
Dale and Hutchings were also recently awarded the Team Alumni Achievement Medal by the Faculty of Engineering