Reduce plastic in food delivery operations

Reduce plastic in food delivery operations

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Dear readers

This petition is addressed to companies and restaurants which offer food delivery services, urging them to reduce the amount of plastic and all unnecessary packaging in their operations.

Globally, we are facing unprecedented levels of plastic consumption at over 300 million tons a year, most of which, due to the indestructible nature of plastic enters our marine and terrestrial ecosystems, posing great threat to nature and life. Over 100,000 marine animals, spanning at least 267 species are known to be killed due to plastic ingestion annually with the species survival of many threatened; over 90 percent of all sea birds and over 50 percent of all sea turtles have eaten plastic. Fragmented micro-plastics have entered our food chain through sea plankton, fish and salt, threatening human well-being. 

Reducing plastic consumption is an urgent need and requires a concerted effort from government, citizens and corporates alike. To this end we seek your cooperation in reducing plastic consumption by providing customers with plastic-free consumption options. We name here primarily restaurant aggregators and food delivery services but this list is far, far from exclusive: Zomato, Swiggy, Foodpanda, Uber Eats, Faasos, Domino’s, Innerchef, FreshMenu. In the wake of Maharashtra’s plastic ban, several restaurants have started offering alternatives and we appeal to you to do the same. An article here suggests that many of you understand and support this need for reducing plastic.

At present, we frequently receive food in styrofoam or plastic containers, plastic cutlery, seasoning and sauce packets as per cuisine. We’ve outlined below in increasing order of priority and impact some steps that we think you can take:

1.       Steps towards less dystopian: Since most food deliveries are to homes, people are bound to have cutlery and other basics. Please provide customers with the option of opting out of plastic cutlery, ketchup sachets and any other avoidable single-use items; better would be if the default could be non-provision of these extras with the option of opting-in if required.

 2.       Middle ground: For single-use items which are unavoidable such as the containers for food, could you influence your partner restaurants to modify their packaging behavior by choosing cartons made of biodegradable cardboard, paper, bamboo, leaves etc. or even foil which might be recyclable?

The above two steps have immense potential for modifying the packaging behavior of the majority of delivery restaurants across the nation, which are dependent on your applications for delivery requests.

3.       Full-fledged utopian: This might sound far-fetched at first glance but isn’t really. Each of your delivery agents drops food off at our doorsteps. If they could carry these in reusable containers which we transfer to our own containers at homes, there is a lot of unnecessary single-use material that could be avoided. While not as harmful as plastic in terms of ecological or wildlife impacts, most materials like paper and cardboard require a lot of water and energy to produce and have substantially larger carbon footprints than plastic production and we should be doing all we can to reduce these too.  

There are logistic, hygiene and several other considerations that will presumably factor in but as loyal consumers who have been using your services for a long time, we believe that companies of your caliber should not find this impossible to implement.

If you believe in this cause, please sign this petition requesting these companies to take apposite action. Thank you for your support!