While over 600 million people around the world are undernourished, over 1 billion tons of food goes to waste each year. Spain currently wastes over 3 million tons of food and drink per year. In June 2022, in an effort to make a dent in that number, the Spanish government adopted a bill intended to slash food waste, The Guardian reports. The bill is waiting for approval from parliament, and officials hope it will go into effect at the start of 2023.
The legislation includes a requirement that restaurants offer free “doggy bags” or to-go containers for customers upon request. Most restaurants in Spain currently do not have these, as it is simply not custom to take leftovers home from a sit-down restaurant. If this legislation is passed, restaurants and supermarkets will also have to work with food banks and similar organizations to limit food waste. Larger businesses will be required to submit waste-reduction plans. The bill includes further suggestions that supermarkets offer discounts on food that is about to expire, use overripe produce for jams and juices, and send unusable food to recyclers to be repurposed into biofuel or fertilizers.
Restaurants, supermarkets, and other food-related businesses could face fines of up to 60,000 euro if they fail to adhere to the legislation.
Nations across Europe are likewise taking a stand against food waste — Spain’s law is, in fact, modeled on similar laws in France and Italy.