The food at your doorstep in a single click! Food delivery service is definitely one of the smartest and attractive business ventures for customers and business owners.
In Nepal, Foodmandu, Bhojdeals, and Pathao food are the frontlines in this venture. And no one can deny that these service providers have eased our lives.
Unfortunately today, we are going to look at the flaws found in these services. Flaws related to one of the most urgent and severe global problems, climate change.
The environment currently, is degrading rapidly. And needs attention more than ever. Yet, we are indifferent to the contribution of these delivery services in affecting the environment.
The packaging materials are one of the major contributors to the degradation of the environment. The three most harmful yet widely used products are the infamous Plastic, Styrofoam and Aluminium.
These are the materials that cause the most harm to the environment. And yet these are some of the most used materials not only for food delivery packaging but for everything.
Ordering your food, you will get loads of packaging. The food itself is packaged which is understandable and necessary. But then they are packaged from the restaurant’s own branding. And again comes in a package from the food delivery service.
In the excitement of finally getting to your food, all the packaging gets tossed to the dustbin without so much as a second thought.
Not only is the packaging plastic filled, but these go-to food services include plastic cutlery. This is unnecessary most of the time since I am pretty sure people have a set at home or in the office.
To put the severity in perspective, the United States Environmental Protection Agency researched all the waste that comes from packaging. In 2018 alone there were 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging generated. And from all that only 29.1% got recycled. Likewise in China, 65 million meal containers are discarded each DAY. Well, this is pretty huge. And in Nepal also, the case is increasing.
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There isn’t any magical substance you can use instead of all these harmful ones and help clean the environment. That is what makes things so hard. Yet the solution comes from making small changes and alterations to be adopted.
One of the least difficult and important things to do is to not package things that do not need them.
In Nepal, grocery delivery services like Kharpan and Sabji Land package every single item in plastic. They claim to clean the items beforehand and hence everything is packaged. But this is quite unnecessary. Food like potatoes and ginger can be covered in soil, it is okay. It’s not like the people do not rinse it one more time after buying it because of trust issues. Washing vegetables at home is not an impossible thing to do especially if it saves a ton of plastic.
Another option is to use products like paper bags which are biodegradable. Yes, food items like sauces and liquids do need plastic but, the bag does not also have to be plastic. Foodmandu uses a paper bag for their packaging and so should the restaurants.
We need to pressurize and normalize the usage of alternative methods. For example, these days the plastic straw is almost nowhere to be found, and bamboo and metal straws are the norms.
Our own traditions also provide a great alteration, using “botas”. They are made from dried leaves stuck together with their own stems or wheat straws.
Food delivery service most definitely does not use bicycles. Which contributes to another environmental problem.
The delivery people using bikes and cars add to the already jam-packed roads. Increasing not only the traffic but utilizing fuel more additionally also reduces the air quality.
Although this applies to all traveling, food delivery seems like a small thing for such a big price. Since it can be replaced by walking to your farmers market instead of ordering online, which also supports the farmers. And carpooling with your friends to the restaurant itself.
The smoke from all the traffic has already decreased the air quality in Kathmandu.
The air pollution and delivery services are actually connected and go in a circle. The poor air quality is why people would rather order in their homes. And air pollution is also the reason people would rather use cars than bicycles.
This loop can be an endless one until the worst is to come.
Living in the modern world, it is easy to forget the impact our actions make. It is easy to ignore such a crisis when you are not witnessing its consequences firsthand. But there are simple steps we can all take and try to make a difference.
Use and promote usage of cloth bags, request restaurants or grocery delivery to use the least plastic or not at all. Try buying whole food with less packaging. Or maybe these delivery services can use e-vehicle for delivery.
These habits won’t heal the earth instantly. But will set up the right habits that will come into action later.