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Surge in Scottish hospitality businesses signing up to ‘Good to Go’ doggy bag scheme

Designed to tackle ‘plate waste’ – customer leftovers at the end of a meal in restaurants – Scotland’s ‘Good to Go’ doggy bag scheme is proving to be a restaurant’s best friend.

19 Mar 18

Since April 2017, the number of Scottish hospitality businesses taking part in the scheme has surged by over 100%; resulting in 42,000 Good to Go boxes going into circulation in the last 12 months.

For the businesses taking part, this means savings. Currently one in every six meals served by restaurants is thrown away, costing the Scottish hospitality industry £64million annually.

For consumers, it’s about changing attitudes towards leftovers. Zero Waste Scotland research has shown that two fifths of Scots are currently too embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag – but three quarters said they would welcome the option of taking a doggy bag home.

To ensure food is safe, Food Standards Scotland-approved guidance is featured on Good to Go boxes providing advice and assurance on reheating and eating restaurant leftovers at home.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said:

“The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to cut food waste by 33% by 2025 and it’s very encouraging to see schemes like Good to Go making such an impact.

“The dramatic rise participating Scottish businesses is testament to a changing narrative around food waste. With so many restaurants now taking part, we encourage Scots to do their bit and ask for a doggy bag when dining out.”

Suzanne O’Connor, Executive Chef of Edinburgh’s Contini Group, recently launched the scheme at the Scottish Café & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery:

“As a family-run, independent restaurant group we take a huge amount of care and pride in our approach to local sourcing and sustainability.

“Good to Go really aligns with this ethos and has been a great success, our customers are delighted to take home their leftovers – everything from a scone to smoked salmon – and really understand the value of preventing such wonderful ingredients from going to waste.

“We initially piloted the scheme in the Scottish Café and, due to customer demand, are now rolling Good to Go out to our other restaurants including our family Italian, Contini George Street.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Good to Go has demonstrated the tremendous appetite for doggy bags – not just from consumers but from restaurants who have found, through our hugely successful trials, that it enhances their customer service and helps them monitor and deal with food waste. It’s good for the bottom line, and great for the environment, as tackling unnecessary food waste is one of the most important things we can do to tackle climate change.

“I’m delighted that well-known Scottish restaurants, such as The Scottish Café, are seeing the benefits of the scheme and hope to see many more taking part in future.”

Good to Go is delivered as part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £35million in Scotland in resource efficiency projects until December 2019 thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund.


Notes For Editors

Good to Go – further details

Zero Waste Scotland provides participating businesses with a starter-pack containing 300 boxes, bags and communication materials – including table talkers and window stickers – as well as guidance on how to take part.

During the Good to Go pilot, plate waste was reduced by an average of 42% per participating restaurant. Around half of this reduction was due to diners taking food home with further reductions achieved through other measures such as adjusting portion sizes and checking if diners actually wanted sides of chips and vegetables.  

Made from sustainable cardboard with a natural starch lining, the Good to Go boxes are fully compostable.

Food waste facts

By cost, the research found that the largest food groups wasted were:

  • Meat and fish accounted for £190 million
  • Homemade and pre-prepared meals accounted for £190 million
  • Fresh vegetables and salad accounted for £150 million
  • Drink accounted for £110 million
  • Fresh fruit accounted for £79 million

About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

The Scottish Government has identified tackling food waste as a key priority for action, and Zero Waste Scotland is focused on working to help deliver the landmark national target to reduce Scotland’s food waste by 33% by 2025.

The Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme Fund is administered by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit the website or follow @scotgovESIF.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk or keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland via our social media channels: Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus | LinkedIn

For media enquiries contact:

Mhairi MacLeod, Director – LUX – The Food & Drink Agency

0131 555 6691


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