Bengaluru-based food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy has announced the launch of ‘Swiggy Packaging Assist’, a new initiative that will help restaurant partners access a range of innovative packaging solutions.
Also, Gurugram-based restaurant search and discovery service Zomato has expressed its concern over the environmental hazards caused due to plastic packaging. It has introduced a new feature in their app that enables customers to opt out of cutlery when they order, thereby reducing the use of plastic.
Swiggy Launches Recycling Packaging Materials
Swiggy plans to expand its catalogue to introduce eco-friendly meal trays and other items made of materials such as cornstarch and bagasse, the dry, pulpy residue left after extraction of juice from sugarcane.
This will include eco-friendly options that suit their menu needs at the right price. In order to achieve this, Swiggy plans to use materials such as paper and aluminium, which can be completely recycled, unlike plastic.
The foodtech unicorn is working with several design consultants and manufacturers to come up with innovations and enhancement to food packaging material offered on its platform and is encouraging the use of sustainable packaging right from the restaurant level.
At present, Swiggy has rolled out the option to partners in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Pune and will make it accessible to the rest of the cities within the next three months.
This is Swiggy’s second partner-focused initiative after the launch of Swiggy Capital Assist, which was its partner financing programme in 2017.
“We have already received a lot of compliments from customers for using superior quality packing material such as wooden spoons and forks. Seeing the success of the initiative, we have requested for some more customised designs. The process of ordering online has made the switch from our previous vendor a simple one,” said Rohit Shetty from Mumbai-based South Indian restaurant Udupi Express.
Zomato: Working To Reduce Food And Fuel Wastage
As Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato, wrote in his blog post, Zomato alone processes 16.5 Mn orders a month and all the food delivery aggregators in India combined process around 35-40 Mn orders a month. These orders add up to 22,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste being created every month in India.
The Zomato team is working with its restaurant partners to increase subscribers to its new opt out of cutlery feature.
Further, Zomato is also working with kitchens to help them adjust serving portions based on the feedback the company receives on its orders to reduce overall food wastage.
It is also looking to reduce fuel wastage with support from its restaurant partners.
Its delivery partners use insulated, specially designed bags that keep food fresh without additional packaging layers.
“On Sunday, Zomato’s delivery fleet drove for 2.4 Mn Km to deliver around 600k orders — that’s six times the distance between the earth and the moon. It is imperative that we work with restaurants and users to ‘pool’ delivery routes, thereby reducing fuel consumption while keeping delivery times intact,” said the blog post.
Ecofriendly Steps Taken By Indian Startup Ecosystem
The Indian startup ecosystem, which is growing at a spiralling pace, has been taking baby steps to reduce its carbon footprint and the pollution caused by plastic and other non-biodegradable waste.
In July 2017, ecommerce platform Flipkart organised a crowdsourced innovative named Gridlock Hackathon and invited techies around the country to suggest ideas and solutions on the problem of traffic congestion in Bengaluru.
Further, ride-sharing companies like Uber, Ola, Wunder are also working towards saving on fuel as well as reducing carbon emissions by trying to adopt electric vehicles etc.
In June 2017, Uber claimed that its ride-sharing service UberPool had been able to save 936K litres of fuel reduced carbon emissions in Mumbai by 2622 Metric Tonnes.
The Indian government is also taking serious steps to boost the adoption of electric vehicles in the country. The government has launched the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme, under which it now will offer subsidies in all categories of electric vehicles — two, three, and four-wheelers — in order to promote green vehicles and check pollution in India.
While technology-driven services such as ecommerce, ride-hailing, and online food and groceries delivery have made life convenient for Indians, they’re also adding to the burden of pollution in the country through packaging waste and the sheer increase in the number of vehicles on the roads.
The Indian startup community seems to have realised this and is making efforts to cut down its negative impact on the ecological ecosystem.