New Delhi, 2nd February 2024: In a strategic collaboration, Zomato, India’s leading food ordering and delivery platform, has partnered with Startup India to unveil the ‘Plastic-Free Orders Packathon.’ This initiative aims to spur innovation in sustainable packaging solutions for food delivery orders, fostering a competition among startups to present eco-friendly alternatives for restaurants catering to online food deliveries.
Anjalli Ravi Kumar, Chief Sustainability Officer at Zomato, expressed the company’s strong commitment to reducing the environmental impact of food deliveries. Zomato initiated the recognition of restaurants using sustainable packaging through the ‘Plastic-Free Orders’ banner in September 2023, acknowledging 3.6 million orders as plastic-free by December 31st, 2023. While national restaurant chains have embraced paper-based or bagasse-based packaging, smaller establishments, especially outside metro cities, face challenges in finding affordable and functional alternatives to plastic packaging, particularly for gravy-based cuisines with multiple condiments and accompaniments. The Packathon seeks to uncover innovative solutions to address this issue and acknowledge the efforts of Indian innovators.
Aastha Grover, Vice President of Startup India, highlighted the Plastic-Free Packathon as a collaborative effort to guide Indian businesses and citizens toward sustainable practices. With plastic pollution presenting a growing concern, the initiative encourages Indian startups to devise innovative packaging solutions for food delivery, reducing plastic usage. The Packathon serves as a platform for startups to showcase their creativity and contribute to sustainable consumption.
The competition is open to all DPIIT-recognized startups, with a submission deadline of February 29th. The top three winners will receive prizes worth 10 Lakhs, 5 lakhs, and 3 lakhs, along with an opportunity to present their solutions to Zomato’s restaurant partners.
Zomato recently announced its comprehensive 2030 sustainability goals, including achieving 100% plastic-neutral food delivery orders through voluntary recycling and facilitating the delivery of 100 million plastic-free food orders by 2025. Zomato’s commitment to environmental responsibility is evident through its ‘reduce, recycle, and reward’ approach. In 2021, Zomato made ‘Do not send cutlery’ the default option on its platform, reducing cutlery waste by 1,000 MT over two years. In FY 23, the company recycled 20,000 MT of plastic waste, twice the weight of plastic used by restaurant partners for Zomato deliveries. The 2023 launch of a recognition program for restaurant partners adopting plastic-free alternatives further demonstrates Zomato’s dedication to sustainability.