Scottish doggy bag pilot aims to cut restaurant food waste


A pilot in Scotland will give diners the chance to cut the volume of food waste in restaurants by taking their leftovers home.

Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Good to Go’ scheme is being piloted in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Kilbride and Irvine and will give diners a branded take-home container to take their food home in.


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

The pilot uses the ‘Good to Go’ messaging to promote the option of take-home containers in a visible way with branding on display in restaurants, in a bid to make taking leftovers homes more socially acceptable. The pilot will investigate the effect that creating a visible message to consumers and using eye-catching branded containers has on increasing the amount of food waste in the participating restaurants.

Zero Waste Scotland director 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.”

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “It’s remarkable that the equivalent of one in six meals served in restaurants is thrown away. We want to reduce this, not only to make the most of the food we pay for when we’re eating out but also to help the environment. The ‘Good to Go’ pilot project will make it easier for diners to take home what they don’t finish to eat later, rather than it ending up in the bin.

“It’s heartening to see the level of commitment to this pilot from the catering industry and food businesses, which I hope will help us toward achieving our zero waste ambitions.”

The pilot was launched at Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery by owner and chair of the Glasgow Restaurant Association Ryan James along with Zero Waste Scotland food waste expert Ylva Haglund and Richard Lochhead. The pilot will last until 25 May.