MILAN — Taking home leftover food from a restaurant is not common practice in Italy, where your fresh plate of lasagna should be finished the first time around. Basta. But as the world struggles to reduce food waste, even Italians may be coming around to the idea of leaving a meal with leftovers in hand — provided that they are packed in stylish doggy bags.
Leading the charge in this revolution, not surprisingly, is fashion capital Milan. Turin daily La Stampa reports that back in 2010, the Lombard association Cena dell'amicizia (friendship dinner) began distributing paper bags to local restaurants in an effort to "break down the walls of embarrassment" associated with doggy bags.
Italy's National Consortium for the Recovery and Recycling of Cellulose-based Packaging (COMIECO), and the grassroots Slow Food organization followed suit recently with a new initiative, hiring designers and illustrators to create doggy bags sufficiently modish to suit local tastes.
The country's environmental ministry, meanwhile, has been testing the waters in the Veneto region with "elegant pochettes" for leftovers — "Family Bags," the government calls them. Aarf!