The doggy bag required by law: who already does it and how much waste they save

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Doggy bag mandatory in all restaurants, to be provided to anyone who wants to take home unfinished food or wine at the table. Under consideration by the Italian Parliament there are two legislative proposals in this sense. The first was filed last December in the Senate by the Northern League member Mara Bizzotto; the second, more recent, was presented to the Chamber by Forza Italia deputy Giandiego Gatta. However, the practice of taking home leftovers from restaurant dinners is already law in some countries.

In Spainfor example, a 2022 rule made it mandatory for restaurateurs, starting from January last year, to provide doggy bags to customers who request them. In Francehowever, a similar law has already been in force since 2021. While in the United Stateswhere the leftover bag was born, there is no real law, even if the habit of using it is quite widespread.

«I’ll take this home»: the pasta, a chicken leg, some vegetables, the bottle of wine that they didn’t finish at the restaurant. The nickname “doggy bag” comes from English and indicates the aluminum or cardboard container for consuming leftovers at home or for giving to your four-legged friend. Pending new legislative developments, in Italy for now it is only in force L to law 166/16 on food waste, which “promotes the use” by operators in the catering sector of reusable containers suitable for allowing customers to take away food leftovers. In short, it promotes, but does not oblige.

But how much is food waste in our country? According to the latest report from the Waste Watcher International observatory of the University of Bologna, every Italian citizen throws 469.4 grams of food into the bin: 125.9 grams less than in 2022. The USA, where the Doggy bag is a consolidated tradition, does worse than us: food waste is 859.4 grams per capita per week. Spain and France do better than Italy, where the Doggy bag, as we have said, must be offered by law to restaurant customers: respectively, they weigh 446 and 459 grams.Germanywhich despite being able to reduce average waste by around 43% in 2023, is at 512.9 grams per week, while it is even worse The UKat 632 grams per capita.

So, if the Doggy bag were to become mandatory in our country, how would restaurateurs take it? «It is better not to add more complexity and bureaucracy» said Lino Enrico Stoppani, president of Fipe-Confcommercio, on Wednesday 24 January during the press conference to present the project «Rimpiattino – the Italian version of the “Doggy Bag”» in collaboration with Comieco. The initiative saw the light in 2018, with the distribution of 24 thousand “rimpiattini” to 875 restaurants in 22 cities.

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