According to the Ademe (a French environment and energy management agency), the restaurant sector is one of the largest producers of biowaste, with more than 7 billion meals served each year. In fact, it means that approximately 900 000 tonnes of biowaste are annually generated: obsolete foodstuffs, scraps of preparation, tabletop reliefs... In more detail, collective catering (school, social, hospital, etc.) generates a waste volume of 500 000 tons per year. Hence, it exceeds the volume of biowaste in the commercial catering sector by 400 000 tonnes each year, with an average of 15 to 16 tonnes per establishment. Commercial catering produces about 9 tonnes per establishment. The collection and upgrading of these biowaste has therefore become a real priority in the national policy.
Thanks to the Grenelle 2 French law, selective sorting is mandatory in most restaurants since July 2010. But it is only since January 1st, 2016 that this law opens to more establishments, since it now concerns establishments that produce at least 10 tonnes of biowaste per year, or about 230 meals per day. A real breakthrough, since in 2012, the law applied only to restaurants that exceeded the threshold of 120 tonnes per year. Non-observance of the law may result in a fine of € 75,000 and a sentence of up to two-year prison term.
If this is not considered as an obligation, the restaurant owners have the option of installing the "doggy bag" system in their establishments. The approach, which is strongly recommended by the French “Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie”, allows customers to leave with the remains of their meals, thus reducing food waste and biowaste production. English people have largely adopted this approach, but as for the French, they are not yet accustomed to taking home the leftovers. According to L'Express, a French newspaper, they throw an average of 45 lbs of food a year, while on every meal taken in the restaurant, between 0,47 and 0,50 lbs of food are lost.