Doggy bags pilot aims to cut restaurant food waste in Scotland

By Lauren Houghton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland's Ylva Haglund and Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead show off the new boxes
Zero Waste Scotland's Ylva Haglund and Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead show off the new boxes
A pilot scheme running in 11 Scottish restaurants aims to prevent the equivalent of one in six meals going to waste by encouraging customers to take home their leftovers. 

Zero Waste Scotland have launched their ‘Good to Go’ scheme in participating restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Irvine. The scheme offers diners the chance to take food they can’t finish home with them in branded containers. The pilot intends to end the stigma associated with asking for a ‘doggy bag’.

The pilot was launched yesterday (20 March) at Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery, a Glasgow restaurant taking part in the scheme.

Too embarrassed to ask

Research by WRAP, which delivers the Zero Waste Scotland programme for the Scottish Government, shows three quarters of diners would like to see doggy bags offered in restaurants. Around half of these diners admitted to being too embarrassed to ask for them.

Director of Zero Waste Scotland 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.”

Owner of Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery and chair of Glasgow Restaurant Association Ryan James said: “Taking leftovers home is the norm in many countries, but there seems to be more of a stigma in Scotland, so by promoting the ‘Good to Go’ message and presenting diners with their food in a funky container we’re hoping it will show everyone that it’s actually a cool thing to do.”

Visible branding

The pilot uses the new ‘Good to Go’ messaging to promote take-home containers in a very visible way, aiming to make them more socially acceptable.

PR manager at Zero Waste Scotland Andrew Pankhurst said: “The restaurants have posters and table toppers and the bags and containers are branded too. This makes a visual cue, customers can see someone else getting them and ask about it. The staff in the restaurants promote the scheme as well, offering boxes to customers if they have anything left on their plates.”

The pilot will run until 25 ​May when research will start to investigate its impact and decide if the scheme should be rolled out nationwide.

Three years ago BigHospitality reported on the launch of a similar scheme in London, the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Too Good To Waste campaign​, which has made doggy boxes a standard feature in more than 100 London restaurants since October 2011. 

Related topics: Business, Restaurants

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