Finding ways of reducing my plastic packaging from online orders does not just mean shopping – it affects how I order my food too

Finding ways of reducing my plastic packaging from online orders does not just mean shopping – it affects how I order my food too

My online shopping habit isnt just confined to buying clothes unfortunately for me. For more than two years, every Friday, without fail unless I was away Id order a takeaway from my local Indian online (easier, and you got a discount) for myself and my fiance: chicken dansak, dal makhani, cheese and chilli naan, peshwari naan and a rice to share. That was until a near apocalyptic incident one Friday night where a portion of reheated rice wiped us out until Tuesday. Since then, our Friday night food of choice was replaced with pizzas or burgers.
Its almost a year later, and weve moved house away from the offending takeaway (that wasn’t the main reason why we moved). We have braved it and ordered other take away curries.
These proved to be less dangerous, but still the same problem: those plastic containers and lids. Yes, the pots can be recycled, but the heat sealed pieces of thin plastic on the top cannot be recycled Theyre too thin. I dread to think of the numbers of these used in a year in the UK.. 
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But what our takeaway industry is missing is the trusty dabbawala. Its Indias ingenious answer to delivered home-made lunches thats successfully been running for 130 years.
Using a system of colours and symbols a whopping 80 million metal lunch boxes are delivered by dabawallas  which literally translates as one who carries a box within India every year to happy customers.  
The metal tins in India have coloured symbols on the top that denote their final destination 
A dabba box (also known as a tiffin box) usually comes in two, three or four tiers; the bottom is the largest, with rice, while the others include a curry, a side of vegetables, dal and flatbreads and a dessert. And what’s even more impressive is that the same lunch box is delivered back again to the owners home. Its quite miraculous. 
So why were still aimlessly pounding the pavement to Pret at lunchtime, or returning to bad takeaways, just for convenience I am not sure.
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But maybe DabbaDrop can help change that. Albeit, this startup is only delivering to some areas of London, so far, but mimicking the Mumbai lunch delivery system that became the envy of FedEx, this incredible curry is delivered, sans plastic and its even carbon neutral, too. 
This version is designed for two, and works on a subscription service. When I tried it, I had a gorgeous bhel salad with puffed rice, pomegranate and tamarind on the top level, then a tomatoey potato vindaloo, a zingy mung lentil dal, rice and roti. Its generous, even for two. And some of the best Indian food I’ve had. Dont be fooled by the sauces in what looks like plastic pots of course, theyre compostable. 
Its £32 for a hot meal delivered to your house on a Friday night on a bike, which you can pause or change, and you can choose from either weekly or fortnightly. The metal tins are even collected the next time you order too. Its hassle free, great food. And now I can look forward to my Friday night curries again.

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