Restaurant-goers urged to change their behaviour to cut out food waste

Scottish diners are being urged not to over-order in restaurants, to ban garnishes from their plates and to ask for a doggy bag if they cannot finish their meal as part of a campaign to reduce food waste.

The Scottish Government agency is also urging people not to over-order in restaurants. Picture: contributed

It is estimated the Scottish hospitality industry wastes the equivalent of one in every six meals that it serves, costing around £212 million a year. 

The campaign hopes to cut food waste in a bid to reduce the impact on the environment. Food waste is seen as a key target in addressing the global climate emergency.

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Scottish Government agency Zero Waste Scotland, which is behind the campaign, warned when consumers waste food, the energy and resources that go into producing, processing, transporting and cooking it is also wasted. In 2014, Scottish households threw away 600,000 tonnes of food waste.

The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets to cut food waste by one third by 2025 from 2013 base levels, with households contributing 61 per cent of Scotland’s food waste.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “In our current climate emergency it simply isn’t good enough to continue to operate in the wasteful ways of the past.

“Food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions and we can all play a significant role in reducing this impact. Whether it is doggy bags to take home, thinking a bit more about what you’re ordering or pre-planning meals, there are a lot of fairly small changes that could make a huge difference to Scotland and the rest of the planet.”

MasterChef champion Gary Maclean, who is also Scotland’s national chef, said: “Food waste is a villain that we can fight with small changes to our everyday routines. Making sure that we use what we buy and throw out less is a really big deal in reducing our impact on the planet.”

Previous research from Zero Waste Scotland found food waste is worse than plastic for climate change. Food waste has been labelled a greater cause of global warming because of the resources and energy that go into growing and making the food. If wasted food is sent to landfill, the impact is even worse as this produces the damaging greenhouse gas methane.