Spain’s bars and restaurants forced to provide ‘doggy bags’ for leftovers under food waste plans


Spain’s bars and restaurants will be forced to provide ‘doggy bags’ for diners to take their leftovers home under plans for crackdown on food waste

  • Spain throws away 1.3million tonnes of food and drink a year – £212 per person
  • Supermarkets and restaurants will have to send waste to food banks or NGOs
  • Customers will also be offered free containers to take home their leftovers

Spain will force restaurants and bars to provide ‘doggy bags’ to diners under plans to crackdown on waste, with fines up to £50,000 issued to owners who bin food.

The government adopted a draft bill today, similar to existing legislation in France and Italy, to reduce the 1.3million tonnes of food and drink thrown away in Spain every year.

‘This is a pioneering legal instrument to prevent wastefulness’ in the food chain, from producers to consumers, which leads to financial losses and impacts the environment, Food Minister Luis Planas said after a cabinet meeting.

Spain has forced its restaurants and bars to provide 'doggy bags' to diners in a bid to crackdown on waste, with fines up to £50,000 issued to owners who bin food

Spain has forced its restaurants and bars to provide ‘doggy bags’ to diners in a bid to crackdown on waste, with fines up to £50,000 issued to owners who bin food

‘In a world where unfortunately hunger and malnutrition still exist, these are things which weigh on everyone’s conscience,’ he said.

An estimated 250 euros (£212) of food per person is thrown away every year, according to government figures.

Under the new legislation, both supermarkets and restaurants will have to find ways of distributing leftover food to NGOs and food banks.

In cases where, for example, fruit has become too overripe to be sold, it must be used for making jams or juices, or in cases where it is no longer fit for human consumption, it must be used for animal food or composted.

To avoid waste, restaurants will also have to provide customers free containers to take home their leftovers, a practice which is uncommon in Spain.

The government adopted a draft bill today to reduce the 1.3million tonnes of food and drink thrown away in Spain every year (file image)

The government adopted a draft bill today to reduce the 1.3million tonnes of food and drink thrown away in Spain every year (file image)

The bill lays out fines for failing to comply, which range from 2,001 euros to 60,000 euros (£50,000).

Planas said the aim was not to create an ‘interventionist law’ but one which would ‘raise awareness’ about food waste.

There would be no sanctions for private homes but they would be targeted by educational campaigns.

Other countries such as Italy and France have already adopted laws in recent years targeting food waste.

In line with objectives laid out by the United Nations, the European Union has committed to reducing by half food waste by both companies and consumers by 2030.

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