New laws in Italy will make it easier for businesses to donate expired food to charities and for farmers to give away unsold produce. But is promoting the use of doggy bags a step too far?
Italy has just passed a bill that aims to take a huge chunk out of the five million tonnes of food waste the country generates every year, and I think that’s wonderful news.
The bill makes it easier for restaurants and shops to cut down on the food they throw away by allowing them to donate food that’s past its sell-by-date. And money will be spent improving the food supply chain and packaging to limit waste before products even get to shoppers.
It sounds like real progress.
Taking home the leftovers
One part of the bill that really appeals to me is encouraging people to ask for ‘family bags’ or ‘doggy bags’, when eating out. Apparently this is far from the norm in Italy, so it might be a hard sell.
Personally, I always ask to take leftovers home from restaurants whenever it’s practical (so, not if I’m about to go straight to the theatre after dinner, for example). I’d rather enjoy the remains of my meal the next day than try to scoff the lot when I’m already full or see it thrown away. Food is so precious to me I can’t stand to see it wasted.
I hope Italy’s bill really helps changing habits and that it encourages other countries to follow suit.
How to eat Danishly
Where I live in Denmark, we’re not really encouraged to separate our food waste, and our rubbish bags get burned to make energy and heating.
But recently I have noticed a drive to cut down on supermarket food waste – from offering food that’s close to its use-by date at crazy discounts, to selling single pork chops or burgers so people living alone don’t have to buy more than they need.
Food waste is definitely seen as a problem here, and this is encouraging people to be innovative.
One of my favourite initiatives is an app called Too Good to Go, which lets restaurants, cafes and bakeries sell off ‘lucky dip’ bags or boxes of food to app users for very low prices that they can pick up before closing time, preventing the food from being thrown away. The app started life in Denmark and is from this year also being rolled out in the UK.
Where my partner works, a warm lunch from a local restaurant is provided every day, along with bread and various toppings. Staff are invited to take leftovers home to cut down on waste, and we’re very happy to oblige. It’s one of the nicer ways to do our bit for the environment.
What do you think of the new ideas in Italy? Are you a fan of the doggy bag?
This is a guest post by Katie. All opinions are Katie’s own, not necessarily those of Which?