Good to Go has been developed to change the culture around leftovers and save food from the bin by giving customers an easy way to take uneaten food home. The research revealed that customers are keen to be offered ‘doggy bags’, however two fifths are too shy to ask. Restaurants participating in our Good to Go pilot, where customers were proactively offered doggy bags, reported average food waste reductions of 42% and that customers overwhelmingly welcomed the service.

Every year, 53,500 tonnes of food is wasted from Scottish restaurants, costing an estimated £64 million. Around two-thirds of this food waste could have been avoided and 34% of this is estimated to be ‘plate waste’ – good food left by the customer at the end of the m

Designed to tackle ‘plate waste’ – customer leftovers at the end of a meal in restaurants – Scotland’s ‘Good to Go’ doggy bag scheme is proving to be a restaurant’s best friend.

Since April 2017, the number of Scottish hospitality businesses taking part in the scheme has surged by over 100%; resulting in 42,000 Good to Go boxes going into circulation in the last 12 months.

For the businesses taking part, this means savings. Currently one in every six meals served by restaurants is thrown away, costing the Scottish hospitality industry £64million annually.

For consumers, it’s about changing attitudes towards leftovers. Zero Waste Scotland research has shown that two fifths of Scots are currently too embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag – but three quarters said they would welcome the option of taking a doggy bag home.

To ensure food is safe, Food Standards Scotland-approved guidance is featured on Good to Go boxes providing advice and assurance on reheating and eating restaurant leftovers at home.




Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said:

“The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to cut food waste by 33% by 2025 and it’s very encouraging to see schemes like Good to Go making such an impact.

“The dramatic rise participating Scottish businesses is testament to a changing narrative around food waste. With so many restaurants now taking part, we encourage Scots to do their bit and ask for a doggy bag when dining out.”

Zero Waste Scotland provides participating businesses with a starter-pack containing 300 boxes, bags and communication materials – including table talkers and window stickers – as well as guidance on how to take part.


During the Good to Go pilot, plate waste was reduced by an average of 42% per participating restaurant. Around half of this reduction was due to diners taking food home with further reductions achieved through other measures such as adjusting portion sizes and checking if diners actually wanted sides of chips and vegetables.

Made from sustainable cardboard with a natural starch lining, the Good to Go boxes are fully compostable.


Suzanne O’Connor, Executive Chef of Edinburgh’s Contini Group, recently launched the scheme at the Scottish Café & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery:

“As a family-run, independent restaurant group we take a huge amount of care and pride in our approach to local sourcing and sustainability.

“Good to Go really aligns with this ethos and has been a great success, our customers are delighted to take home their leftovers – everything from a scone to smoked salmon – and really understand the value of preventing such wonderful ingredients from going to waste.

“We initially piloted the scheme in the Scottish Café and, due to customer demand, are now rolling Good to Go out to our other restaurants including our family Italian, Contini George Street.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Good to Go has demonstrated the tremendous appetite for doggy bags – not just from consumers but from restaurants who have found, through our hugely successful trials, that it enhances their customer service and helps them monitor and deal with food waste. It’s good for the bottom line, and great for the environment, as tackling unnecessary food waste is one of the most important things we can do to tackle climate change.

“I’m delighted that well-known Scottish restaurants, such as The Scottish Café, are seeing the benefits of the scheme and hope to see many more taking part in future.”

Good to Go is delivered as part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £35million in Scotland in resource efficiency projects until December 2019 thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund.


Food waste facts

By cost, the research found that the largest food groups wasted were:

  • Meat and fish accounted for £190 million
  • Homemade and pre-prepared meals accounted for £190 million
  • Fresh vegetables and salad accounted for £150 million
  • Drink accounted for £110 million
  • Fresh fruit accounted for £79 million


If you own a restaurant that might be interested in taking part:

Zero Waste Scotland wants your support to drive change in this area so we are now offering FREE starter packs of 300 boxes, bags and communication materials to businesses employing up to 250 employees. Help us achieve Scotland’s world-leading target to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.

Further information

For more information you can read the full Good to Go pilot report and watch a short video about the scheme.

Starter packs

To order your free starter pack or to find out more, please complete our form or phone 0141 227 2319. 

This giveaway is clearly aimed at bigger businesses, which is rather sad, but surely smaller businesses could implement their own simply system with paper bags or small boxes? Perhaps even charge a £1 for the takeaway box. A thought.

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