Fine for Wasting Food or Rebate for Not?
Paying to eat is one thing, but paying to waste might not go down so well with the typical diner. So, the move by a resort in Coorg to charge guests a hefty Rs 100 per 10 gm of leftovers and donate the proceeds to charity is commendable. More so because the guests have apparently not wriggled out of paying this surcharge by asking for doggie-bags instead to take away what they may not eat.
The idea isn’t new, but neither is it a widespread practised either, which explains the present UN estimates that we waste enough food annually to feed 3.3 billion more people. In other words, food doesn’t go merely from farm to fork — much of it travels onwards to dumpsites. Of course, there’s always a chance that if patrons order less — so as to waste less and pay less — restaurants will cook less, indent and acquire less and ultimately hire less too.
A counter-intuitive strategy could even be to reward eating more — i.e., not wasting the portions provided — rather than penalising waste. If a rebate is given on the total price of a meal for not leaving single morsel on the plate (as parents wont to insist back within the day), there would be an incentive to order only the maximum amount as people can finish. Then diners would also probably not look too closely at markups either and there would be fewer garbage bags for the restaurant to fill later.