A simple measure could see a huge reduction in food waste in Irish cafés and restaurants.
Every year the Irish food sector wastes an estimated 150,000 tonnes of food, with most of this coming from leftovers on plates.
A new initiative is encouraging food businesses across Munster to offer diners a compostable take-away box to diners who were unable to finish their meals.
Savour Food, an initiative from The Clean Technology Centre (CIT), SECAD and Ballyhoura Development CLG, is offering to provide 100 of these boxes free of charge to each business taking part. It is hoped that the move will reduce food waste while raising awareness of the issue amongst staff and customers.
"In Ireland we waste a million tonnes of food waste every year, which is a huge shame," said James Hogan, Programme Manager.
"For the food service sector, accurate portion control is a key part of reducing waste and reducing costs. However there will be times when the customer will not eat all that's on their plate. We want to see this food going to a good home rather than being wasted."
Savour Food supports food processors, food retailers and those in the food service industry based in East Cork, Clonakilty and Ballyhoura regions. Among the businesses involved in the initiative are The Bramley Lodge in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork and The Yarn Café at Carebright in Bruff, Co. Limerick.
With food waste calculated to cost businesses €2.73 - €3.50 per kilogram, cafes and restaurants can expect to make a significant saving by offering a take-away option to customers.