Did you know that in Spain, it’s not a common practice to take home uneaten food from a restaurant?
According to news site The Local, “Spain isn’t a country with a longstanding tradition of leftover restaurant food going in doggy bags, perhaps as a combination of it not being part of the culture and portion sizes tending to be smaller than in other countries.”
However, to keep food waste in check, the country is passing a new bill that will require bars and restaurants to provide “doggy bags” for guests to take home their leftovers if they request it. The new legislation requires all entities that sell, distribute, or produce food to draw up plans to avoid food waste, and will impose fines of around $2,148 to $64,445 for “serious” food waste. The fines can go up to over $500,000 for “very serious” food waste.
The bill also demands that restaurants and supermarkets give away their leftover food to food banks and NGOs. In the case of overripe fruit and produce, the recommendations outlined in the legislation include producing juices, jam, fertilizers, or animal feed.
Luis Planas, Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food, and Environmental Affairs explains that the new bill is meant to help reduce the approximately 2,866,009 pounds of unnecessary food waste the country throws out each year. It will hopefully help alleviate heedless food management’s environmental and financial impacts.
“This is a pioneering legal instrument to prevent wastefulness,” Planas told the Daily Mail.
To push its anti-food waste agenda and raise awareness, the bill will employ educational campaigns to discourage domestic food waste.
“In a world where, unfortunately, hunger and malnutrition exist, these issues weigh on everyone’s conscience,” Planas adds.