New law must end food waste in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
food waste

Avoid wastage of food as much as possible. The new law must achieve this in Spain by 2023. The law against food waste obliges the catering industry to provide customers with doggy bags or in other ways to ensure that food does not end up in the waste bin. 

Offering leftovers in trays or ‘doggy bags’ is not the only solution offered by the law. In restaurants and bars, food that is left behind may also be treated differently. Some businesses, already have the policy to offer everything that remains in the afternoon, later that day or in the evening as an aperitif or even as tapas. 

The same goes for food that is almost past its sell-by date. This can be used, for example, to make jam. If it is no longer good for human consumption, it can still be used as animal food or as compost. 

Law not yet watertight against throwing away food 

Non-profit organisation Enraíza Derechos underlines the importance of such measures and laws. Preventing food from being thrown away as waste should be the number one priority. The arrival of the law is not yet watertight, according to the NGO. It is still possible to “donate” discarded food, so that it ends up too easily in the waste afterwards. 

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Food waste law not just for restaurants 

This new law does not only apply to restaurants and bars, but canteens in schools, companies and sports clubs will also have to comply with it. Supermarkets and shops are also expected to offer discounted products with a best-before date. More and better agreements should also be made with food banks and neighborhood associations to be able to donate unused products. Where many stores are already doing this, this will be required by law from January 2023. 

Spain throws away almost 1.4 billion kilos of food 

The most recent figures from 2020 show that almost 1.4 billion kilos of food are thrown away in Spain every year. The biggest culprits are supermarkets and catering businesses, but private households certainly have a share in this. 

According to many, the arrival of measures is therefore certainly necessary. Whether this law will change this, the future will tell. However, fines for violating these new rules are not amiss; they can amount (for companies) to as much as half a million euros. 

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