This Country Found Creative Ways to Use Leftover Food

Unused food will be sent home in ‘doggie bags.’

Restaurant food is wrapped in foil tins, ready for doggie bags.

(Prostock-studio /

There are exciting, creative solutions to solving the excess food coming from restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers. Instead of throwing it out, unused food  will soon be used to feed the hungry, be repurposed as juice and jam, and given to farm animals. 

On June 7, 2022, Spain adopted a draft bill to legislate leftovers wherein food businesses will have to submit their plans to curb food waste, according to The Guardian. This new legislation will impress upon the public a new attitude towards food waste.

“In a world where unfortunately hunger and malnutrition still exist, these are things which weigh on everyone’s conscience,” Luis Planas, Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, commented in The Guardian.

Doggy bags and food donations
Restaurants will soon be legislated to provide containers for customers to take home their leftovers. Although this may seem like normal practice, in Spain, this is not the custom. With this upcoming law, diners can request their leftovers, called “sobras” in Spanish, to be wrapped in recycled packaging for no extra cost, according to The Olive Press. If restaurants fail to do this, they could be fined.

Supermarkets will donate their unsold food to food banks and neighborhood organizations. Overripe fruit will be juiced or turned into jams, and the rest converted to animal feed or fertilizer. As for those imperfect, misshapen fruits and vegetables that are often rejected, they too will also be displayed for sale at reduced prices.

This is a serious step to curbing food waste, which is a global problem in a hungry world. In 2019, according to UN News, over 930 tonnes of food sold to restaurants, stores, and homes, ended up in the garbage. This reflects 17 percent of all food sold.

Reducing food waste also helps the environment
“If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, told UN News. 

Anderson explained that reducing such waste could help reduce greenhouse gasses, ensure there is more food for the hungry, and save money in an economic recession.

This is a global issue. When data on food waste was analyzed in 54 countries, each place showed a substantial problem, according to euronews

Combating food waste may also heal nature as there would be less demand to destroy forest to grow crops and raise livestock. This, in turn, could reduce the usage of water and decrease pollution in the agricultural sector.

Along with France and Italy, Spain is paving the way for other countries to address this issue, according to The Guardian. Spain hopes to implement these new laws by 2023 and is also developing an awareness program to educate the consumer.

Much food waste comes from the home, and as the proverb goes, “charity begins at home.” Teaching children about food waste is a big step towards making the world a better, less hungry place.

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