Scottish diners should ban garnishes and ask for doggy bags in bid to tackle climate change

Cutting food waste is key to tackling the climate emergency.
Cutting food waste is key to tackling the climate emergency.
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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 can not finish their meal, as part of a campaign to reduce food waste.

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

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

Zero Waste Scotland, which is behind the campaign, warned that when consumers waste food, the energy and resources that goes 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 figures.

Iain Gulland, chief executive at 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 warns that food waste is worse than plastic for climate change. Food waste is a greater cause of global warming because of all the resources and energy that goes into growing and making the food in the first place. If wasted food is then sent to landfill, the impacts are even worse as this produces and emits methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases. In the short-term, methane is many times worse than carbon dioxide.