The Delivery Dilemma

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The covid-led disruption may have caused over 10% of the restaurants in the city to shut down, but one particular segment in the F&B segment has managed to grow exponentially during this period – the online food delivery industry. Devoid of access to outdoor recreational activities and public places, consumers have found happiness in gorging delectable off packets delivered to the safety of their homes by aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato.

 

However, do you know that drink bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, drink lids, straws and stirrers are the second most common items of plastic pollution? 

Ummm, so? You’re wondering where’s the connection between a sudden craving for Domino’s and a cleaner earth, right?

  

Well, eight out of ten of such packets delivered contain food packaged in plastic boxes, and are handed over to the delivery personnel in bags, that are usually made out of a plastic variant. And while both of these items are deemed to be reusable almost 25 times, the truth is that this number is highly variable, depending on the specific material, quality and manufacturing process. Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled (Source: UNEP)

  

The result? Households are found disposing more plastic than ever, with the statistics becoming increasingly alarming with every passing month. 

 

So, whose fault is it that we’re circumstantially promoting plastic in an era of booming environmental consciousness? Do we blame the financially cornered restaurateur, struggling to survive the wave after wave of covid-19 on-struck and the financial woes it brings in its tow, or is it the fault of these aggregators, who have diligently worked day and night, ever since the pandemic began, following every rule and almost risking their lives, to ensure that the short-staffed, common man doesn’t go hungry.  

 

Or is it we, the consumers, who should take the onus of this situation, and hold ourselves accountable for craving butter chicken or pizza after scrolling through appetizing pictures posted by the home chefs on our Instagram feed, only to realize that we’re low on grocery since the neighborhood store was barely open for two hours the previous morning. 

 

India’s food delivery system is predicted to grow at a staggering CAGR of over 28% (Source: Business Wire) in the next five years. But can we let our plastic usage grow recklessly as well? Awareness building, invention and smart switching is the need of the hour. The floor is open to ideas and views.


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