Zero Waste Scotland is launching a ‘Good to Go’ initiative, claiming the equivalent of one in six meals ends up in the bin.

Several restaurants have been given ‘take-home’ containers in the hope of ending an apparent stigma surrounding asking for a doggy bag.

Research suggests that three quarters of diners would like to see doggy bags offered in restaurants, but around half admitted to being too embarrassed to ask for them.

The pilot was launched last week (20 March) at Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery by owner and chair of Glasgow Restaurant Association Ryan James, Zero Waste Scotland’s food waste expert Ylva Haglund and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead.

The pilot uses the new ‘Good to Go’ messaging to promote the option of take-home containers in a very visible way with branding on display in restaurants, in a bid to make taking leftovers home more socially acceptable. The pilot will investigate the effect that creating a visible message to consumers and using eye-catching branded containers has on increasing the amount of food wasted in the participating restaurants.

Speaking about the initiative, Zero Waste Scotland director Iain Gulland said: “Over 53,000 tonnes of food is thrown away in restaurants in Scotland each year, which is not only a huge waste of money, it’s also a huge waste of good food and the energy and water that went into producing it.

“Research shows that most people want to take leftovers home to enjoy later, but are embarrassed to ask, so the ‘Good to Go’ pilot is all about making it a normal, mainstream thing to do.”

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead added: “It’s remarkable that the equivalent of one in six meals served in restaurants is thrown away. We want to reduce this, not only to make the most of the food we pay for when we’re eating out but also to help the environment.

“The ‘Good to Go’ pilot project will make it easier for diners to take home what they don’t finish to eat later, rather than it ending up in the bin. It’s heartening to see the level of commitment to this pilot from the catering industry and food businesses, which I hope will help us toward achieving our zero waste ambitions.”

The pilot will run until the 25 May and research will be undertaken to investigate the impact and determine if the scheme will be rolled out nationwide.

Liz Gyekye

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