Spain aims to cut food waste with ‘doggy bags’ on offer for all diners

SPAIN is to introduce a new law making it compulsory for restaurants to offer ‘doggy bags’ in a drive to tackle food waste.

The measure to insist diners are given the opportunity to take home their leftovers is part of a raft of clauses contained in the draft Law for the Prevention of Food Losses and Waste which was passed by Spain’s cabinet on Tuesday.

It is designed to reduce the more than 1 billion kilos/litres of food that go to waste every year in Spain.

It states that any customers can request their leftovers, known as sobras in Spanish, be wrapped up in recyclable packaging for them to take home, at no extra cost.

The bill suggests fines of up to €2,000 for establishments that fail to do this.

restaurant food Priscilla Du Preez W3seyzodn8u Unsplash
Doggy bags will be compulsory for those who want them. Photo:Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

Other measures included in the bill is one that insists supermarkets sell ‘out-of-shape’ fruit and vegetables to cut down on food waste.

Food stores will be obliged to dedicate part of their shelf displays to selling cut-price fruit and vegetables that have an imperfect or unattractive shape.

Retailers will also have to offer reductions on products that are close to reaching sell-by dates, with price cuts of at least 50% to ensure shelves are cleared.

The food waste bill aims to deal with the whole chain from farmers through to consumers with the aim of stopping all food dumping at landfill sites.

Food storage, transportation and conservation facilities will have to be optimised with the end of practices that cause food to be thrown away.

Supermarkets, as well as restaurants and industrial caterers, will be ordered not to throw away food that has passed expiry dates.

Instead they will have to sign agreements with food banks and charities to get the surpluses.

Food that is not suitable for human consumption is expected to be used to feed livestock and to make fodder.

Alternatively, food will be converted into fertilisers and biogas.

Non-compliance with the food waste law will see fines of between €6,000 and €150,000, rising up to a €1 million in cases of repeated serious infractions.

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