Stop food waste: MED-3R project encourages use of doggy bags in restaurants

An EU-funded Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) project, the ‘Euro-Mediterranean strategic platform for a suitable waste management’ (MED-3R), has launched a pilot action against food waste targeting over 70 restaurants in the city of Nice (France)
About 90 million tons of food is wasted annually in Europe, according to the European Commission, while figures in the Mediterranean area show a similar trend. Numerous studies reveal that food waste has tough consequences on climate, water, land use and biodiversity mainly related to intensive agricultural activities and CO2 emissions. Besides economic losses for producers and costs for its collection and disposal, food waste raises a moral issue: how to allow that one third of food produced go to waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day?
The MED-3R project campaign aims to push the use of doggy bags in over 70 restaurants located in the city of Nice (France). The excessive size of food portions served and the difficulty in planning purchases are often described as the main causes of waste generated by restaurants. Moreover, unlike in the United States, customers are seldom encouraged to take home the leftovers from their own meals.
Even though "old habits die hard", a total of 2.500 doggy bags, wine and carrying bags were distributed over the past months by MED-3R project leading to positive results as long as restaurants owners and customers attitude towards food leftovers is concerned. 
The campaign against food waste implemented by MED-3R project seems to have left both restaurants owners and clients happy. A survey highlights that 95% of restaurants do not consider the use of doggy bag as a waste of time. A significant portion of targeted restaurants are willing to propose doggy bags to their customers as this is deemed to give a positive image to their business besides clear environmental benefits. On their side, clients have appreciated the opportunity to enjoy leftover food back home since they were usually embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag.
A last equation should be solved so as to encourage the use of doggy bag in the Mediterranean area: will the English name "doggy bag" remains or will it be replaced by a word in French? 
The MED-3R project aims to reinforce the management capacities of local authorities from France, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia with regards to waste collection, disposal and valorisation. The project, to last until the end of 2015, foresees different actions in order to enhance the institutional governance of public policies related to waste management. The total budget of the project is €4,787,062, of which €4,308,385 as CBCMed contribution (90%).
The ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme 2007/2013 is a multilateral cross-border cooperation programme funded by the European Union under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. It aims at reinforcing cooperation between the EU and partner countries' regions located along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. (EU Neighbourhood Info
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Press release
MED-3R project factsheet
ENPI CBCMED – website
Cross-border cooperation – fiche     
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