Zomato collaborates with Startup India; Announces a Plastic-Free Orders Packathon

Zomato collaborates

New Delhi, 3rd February 2024: Zomato, India’s food ordering and delivery platform today announced a ‘Plastic-Free Orders Packathon’ in collaboration with Startup India to encourage innovation in sustainable packaging for food delivery orders. The Packathon is a competition for startups to showcase food delivery sustainable packaging options for restaurants catering to online food orders.

Anjalli Ravi Kumar, Chief Sustainability Officer, Zomato said “Zomato is deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of food deliveries. In September 2023, we began to recognize restaurants that have adopted sustainable packaging materials for food deliveries via a ‘Plastic-Free Orders’ banner. The program is live in 8 cities and 3.6 million orders have been recognized as plastic-free till December 31st, 2023. The program surfaced the fact that many national restaurant chains have adopted paper-based or bagasse-based packaging. Standalone, mid-tier and budget restaurants, especially those outside metro cities, are struggling with the availability of affordable and functional alternatives to plastic packaging for their deliveries. The problem is particularly acute for restaurants specializing in gravy-based cuisines with multiple condiments and accompaniments. We believe focused innovations hold the answer to this problem and the Packathon is a way to surface and recognize Indian innovators.”

Aastha Grover, Vice President, Startup India said, “The launch of Zomato Plastic-Free Packathon is a testament to our shared commitment helping Indian businesses and citizens transition to sustainable practices. Given the burgeoning issue of plastic pollution, this initiative is a clarion call to all Indian startups to innovate and devise sustainable packaging solutions for food delivery that can significantly reduce plastic usage. This challenge presents a unique opportunity for Indian startups to showcase their ingenuity and contribute to a new era of sustainable consumption. As part of Startup India’s mission, we are excited to facilitate and support innovative solutions that will preserve our planet for future generations.”

Open to all DPIIT-recognized start-ups, the deadline for application submission to the Packathon is February 29th. Top three winners will receive prizes worth 10 Lakhs, 5 lakhs and 3 lakhs respectively, in addition to receiving the opportunity to showcase their solution to Zomato’s restaurant partners.

Zomato also recently announced its comprehensive 2030 sustainability goals, including, continuing to facilitate 100% plastic neutral food delivery orders through voluntary recycling, and also facilitating delivery of 100 million plastic-free food orders by 2025. Over the years, Zomato has undertaken various initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of food deliveries, through its 3Rs approach of ‘reduce, recycle and reward’.

In 2021, the company made ‘Do not send cutlery’ the default option on its food ordering and delivery app, giving customers the option to ask for cutlery, only if they needed it. Over the past two years, this simple initiative has cut cutlery waste by 1,000 MT, or 1 million kilos. In FY 23, Zomato recycled 20,000 MT of plastic waste – more than 2X the weight of plastic used by restaurant partners to package orders received through Zomato. In 2023, the company launched a recognition programme for restaurant partners who make the switch to plastic-free alternatives for their Zomato deliveries.

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