Around a third of waste from Belfast food businesses is what customers leave on their plates, report reveals

The ‘Cater 4 Later’ bring home box scheme will give diners the opportunity to take leftover food home, while allowing restaurants and cafés across Belfast to cut down on food waste
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A new scheme aimed at helping businesses to reduce food waste has been launched by Belfast City Council during Food Waste Action Week.

The ‘Cater 4 Later’ bring home box scheme will give diners the opportunity to take leftover food home, while allowing restaurants and cafés across Belfast to cut down on food waste.

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According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association, around one third of waste from Belfast food businesses is food that customers leave on their plates.

Chair of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee, councillor Micky Murray, described the scheme as “a win, win for both customer and businesses.”

“The amount of food waste that continues to be sent to landfill from food businesses and homes is quite staggering,” said councillor Murray.

“When it comes to eating out, leftover food on plates doesn’t mean that customers are not enjoying their meal; in many cases they are simply too full to finish it.

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“I think a lot of people would love the option of bringing their leftovers home to enjoy later that evening or the next day, but diners aren’t always sure if restaurants can facilitate this; so I’m delighted that council is stepping forward to provide a solution with the ‘Cater 4 Later’ scheme, which is a real win, win for both customers and businesses.

“I would encourage all food providers across the city to sign up, so they can provide a wider service to their customers and ultimately help improve our local environment by reducing their levels of food waste going to landfill.”

By joining the scheme, businesses will benefit from improved sustainability and being more environmentally friendly, as well as improving their customer service and satisfaction.

Ricky Armstrong, owner of the Guillemot Deli & Café in Ballyhackamore is an early adopter of the new scheme.

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He explained: “Food waste is something that we deal with daily. These ‘Cater 4 Later’ boxes provided by council will go a long way in helping us to reduce our levels of waste and have the added benefit of allowing us to provide a better offering to our customers. We’re delighted to sign up to the scheme.”

The boxes used for the Cater 4 Later scheme are made of food grade cardboard and can be composted, so customers can dispose of them along with their food and garden waste.

And for helpful hints and tips on how to reduce food waste at home this Food Waste Action Week, visit here.