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How are food delivery apps tackling the challenge of single-use plastics?

Last updated :
March 10, 2024
/

minutes read

Table of Contents

Unwrapping the Future: How Food Delivery Apps are Ditching Single-Use Plastics

Think about the last time you ordered food online. Along with that delightful biryani or lip-smacking pasta, you received heaps of plastic—packets, cutlery, straws, containers, the works. It's a hard truth we often turn a blind eye to, but it's a problem that's growing as voraciously as our appetites. But what if we told you that your favourite food delivery apps are finally taking a stand against the plastic predicament? Intrigued? Let's unwrap this story.

Biting the Plastic Bullet

The urgency to act against single-use plastics isn't new. Across the globe, businesses and governments alike are waking up to the devastating effects of these seemingly innocent materials. Single-use plastics are short-lived but long-lasting, non-biodegradable yet ubiquitous. They're the clingy ex of the material world—impossible to break up with.

But in India, where food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato command a massive user base, this environmental concern takes a gigantic form. Imagine millions of Indians ordering food daily, and with each order, piles of plastic waste accumulating.

A Sustainable Serving: The Strategy

So, how are food delivery apps tackling this mammoth challenge? The answer lies in a multi-pronged strategy—cutting down, substituting, and innovating.

To begin with, several apps have introduced an 'opt-in' feature for cutlery, meaning you'll only receive plastic forks and spoons if you specifically ask for it. It’s a seemingly small change, but consider this—If even 10% of users opt-out, that's a significant reduction in plastic waste.

Next, substitution. Swapping out plastic for eco-friendly materials is a popular trend. Compostable bagasse bowls, paper straws, and biodegradable carry bags are becoming common. Although costlier than their plastic counterparts, the trade-off is a healthier environment, which seems worth the price.

Innovation is another crucial element in this battle. Several companies are researching and developing packaging materials that are not only eco-friendly but also retain the food’s freshness and taste.

Challenges on the Menu

Whilst the intentions are noble, the path to a plastic-free future isn't devoid of obstacles.

The primary challenge is cost. Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic are expensive, leading to higher packaging costs which could be passed onto customers. Then, there's the question of scaling up. Can these eco-friendly practices meet the colossal demand without a hitch?

Then comes consumer awareness and behaviour. Most customers don’t pay heed to the environmental cost of their online food order. A shift in mindset is essential to make this initiative successful.

Partnerships: A Recipe for Success

Realizing the magnitude of the challenge, food delivery apps are partnering with restaurants and packaging providers to co-create solutions. These partnerships aim to enhance sustainability practices, devise innovative packaging methods, and foster consumer awareness.

For instance, Zomato has partnered with ‘Ecoware’, India's first and largest sustainable packaging company, while Swiggy has tied up with several startups for eco-friendly packaging solutions.

The Road Ahead

The journey towards a plastic-free food delivery ecosystem is long and fraught with challenges. But it's also rife with opportunities. Imagine a world where enjoying your favourite dish doesn’t cost the Earth. It's not a far-fetched fantasy. With concerted efforts from food delivery apps, restaurants, packaging providers, and us—the consumers, this vision can become a reality.

We're moving towards a future where, when you order your favourite pizza, you'll not only relish the cheesy goodness but also relish the knowledge that it arrived in your hands without costing the environment.

Wrapping Up

There's a famous saying—"We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." The fight against single-use plastics is a significant step in ensuring that we return them in a better condition than we received them.

Now, it's over to you. The next time you place an order, consider whether you really need that plastic spoon. Opt for restaurants that use eco-friendly packaging. After all, every bit counts in this fight against plastic.

Like this piece? Found it informative? Do share it with your friends, and let's raise awareness about this important initiative. Remember, the future is in our hands—let's make sure it's not a plastic one.

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Shuaib Azam
Shuaib is a Marketing & Growth lead at Hubble. When he isn't working on growth initiatives, Shuaib writes fiction and doodles space monkeys.

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