No To Plastic: What is Zomato & Digital India's Packathon Revolution?

Discover how Zomato's Packathon is reshaping food delivery sustainability! What innovative solutions will startups unveil? Learn more about Zomato's initiative and how startups can participate.

Shreshtha Verma
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In a bid to foster innovation in sustainable packaging for food delivery orders, Zomato, the renowned food ordering and delivery startup, has announced the initiation of the 'Plastic-Free Orders Packathon' in collaboration with Startup India. But what is Packathon all about? Let's find out!

Zomato Packathon

This unique competition is tailored for startups aiming to showcase inventive solutions for sustainable packaging, specifically targeting restaurants engaged in catering to online food orders.

Addressing Environmental Impact Through Innovation

Anjalli Ravi Kumar, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Zomato, expressed the company's unwavering commitment to mitigating the environmental repercussions of food deliveries. The initiative traces its roots back to September 2023 when Zomato commenced acknowledging restaurants adopting sustainable packaging materials through a distinctive 'Plastic-Free Orders' banner. Notably, this program has already made significant strides, with recognition extended to 3.6 million orders across eight cities by December 31st, 2023. Kumar highlighted the prevalent adoption of paper-based or bagasse-based packaging by numerous national restaurant chains. However, she underscored the challenges faced by standalone, mid-tier, and budget restaurants, especially those beyond metro cities, in sourcing affordable and functional alternatives to plastic packaging, particularly for gravy-based cuisines with multiple condiments and accompaniments.

Empowering Indian Startups for Sustainable Solutions

Aastha Grover, the Vice President of Startup India, lauded the launch of the Zomato Plastic-Free Packathon as a testament to the collective commitment toward fostering sustainable practices among Indian businesses and citizens. Grover emphasized the pressing need to address plastic pollution and hailed the Packathon as a rallying call for Indian startups to innovate and devise sustainable packaging solutions that can significantly curtail plastic usage in food delivery. She emphasized the opportunity this challenge presents for startups to showcase their ingenuity and contribute to ushering in a new era of sustainable consumption.

The Packathon is open to all DPIIT-recognized startups, with the submission deadline set for February 29th. The top three winners stand to receive prizes worth 10 Lakhs, 5 Lakhs, and 3 Lakhs respectively, along with the coveted opportunity to showcase their solutions to Zomato's extensive network of restaurant partners.

In alignment with its long-term sustainability goals, Zomato has pledged to continue facilitating 100% plastic-neutral food delivery orders through voluntary recycling. Additionally, the company aims to facilitate the delivery of 100 million plastic-free food orders by 2025. Zomato's multifaceted approach, encompassing the principles of 'reduce, recycle, and reward,' has yielded tangible results over the years. Initiatives such as making 'Do not send cutlery' the default option on its food ordering app and launching recognition programs for restaurant partners transitioning to plastic-free alternatives have contributed significantly to reducing the environmental footprint of food deliveries.

For more information and participation in the Packathon, interested parties can visit Startup India's official website.

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