RESTAURANTS around Oxfordshire are being given free boxes so diners can take their leftover food home.

Oxfordshire County Council says thousands of pounds are wasted in the county every year through food being thrown away.

And to prevent food ending up in the bin, the county council is distributing hundreds of eco-friendly boxes to restaurants around Oxfordshire.

County councillor David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Food waste is a serious problem. For every meal eaten in a UK restaurant, half a kilo of food is wasted – through preparation, spoilage and what’s left behind on the plate.

“This waste hits restaurants’ bottom lines, diners’ pockets and comes at a massive cost to the environment.”

The county council says that UK restaurant food waste totals 600,000 tonnes per year or 21 tonnes per restaurant – the same as five small African elephants.

Each participating restaurant will receive 250 free “take me home” boxes as part of the £27,000 scheme.

There are 35 restaurants taking part but the county council hopes to increase this to 100. It has set up a dedicated website so diners can find out more about the scheme and see which restaurants are taking part.

One of the restaurants taking part is The Big Bang at the Oxford Castle Quarter. Creative consultant Mazz Image said: “It is a great idea to minimise waste. I grew up in Australia and have lived in the USA and the concept of people being able to take food home is quite common there.”

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