Dutch environmental group tackles food waste with ‘doggy bag’ initiative

A Dutch environmental group, Natuur & Milieu, has launched a campaign to persuade restaurant patrons to take home their uneaten food and thereby reduce food waste. Natuur & Milieu has distributed 50,000 doggy bags, accompanied by a starter pack, free to restaurants to encourage their participation in the campaign. The doggy bags were developed with input from catering staff, who were asked what kind of container they preferred.

Restaurant patrons who want to take food home can let their waiter know by means of a Boomerang card, which is available free of charge in many restaurants. The cards come in a number of versions, with messages including “A compliment to the chef” and “I always fancy something tasty in the evening”.Milieuclub wil taboe doggybag doorbreken

Natuur & Milieu said that the Dutch catering industry wastes 50,000 tonnes of food annually, the equivalent of 77 million hot meals.

Before launching the campaign, Natuur & Milieu carried out a survey on food waste, which found that 78% of participants said they hated wasting food, but that 80% of restaurant-goers never take home leftover food. Respondents cited embarrassment (52%) and lack of awareness (55%) as the major reasons for not asking for a doggy bag.

Natuur & Milieu’s partners in the campaign are packaging specialist Depa Disposables, NGO Oxfam Novib and banking group Rabobank.

For more information, see (in Dutch) http://www.doggybag.nu.

California legislature votes to ban disposable plastic bags

The U.S. state of California has passed a bill banning the use of disposable plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies, off-licences and other businesses throughout the state. The bill, which needs to be signed by the governor before becoming law, would usher in the first statewide ban of this type in the United States, starting July 1, 2015. A number of U.S. cities have already banned disposable plastic bags in shops, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. The law would allow the sale of reusable plastic bags at grocery stores.

Compost Giveaway on May 10

Hounslow Council is celebrating Compost Awareness Week by giving away free compost on Saturday, 10 May, 2014. Bring a shovel and a maximum of four containers to pick up your compost at Hounslow Heath Nature Reserve, TW4 5RB (access via Frampton Road car park) from 10am to 1pm.

And there’s more. You’ll have the chance to learn about home composting, how to obtain a subsidised home-compost bin and how to make biodegradable newspaper plant pots for your seedlings. Be sure to bring the kids along to meet our mascot, Composting Claire.

Compost helps to improve soil structure, holds moisture in the soil and adds valuable nutrients to the soil – all of which helps your plants to grow.