A WORCESTERSHIRE packaging company is playing a major role in a national campaign to cut food waste at restaurants and eating houses.

Biopac of Pershore is producing a compostable box that can be supplied to outlets as a "free take home box" for customers so they can reduce their wasted food by enjoying their leftovers later.

Called Take Me Home, the boxes are an advance on the "doggie bag" idea that first became popular in the 1970s. They have been picked up by the Too Good to Waste initiative, which has been launched by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a not-for-profit organisation that helps members become leaders in sustainability.

As part of the campaign, Biopac of Keytec Business Park, Pershore, is supplying Take Me Home boxes to 100 restaurants in Oxfordshire, where the County Council is among the first in the UK to sign up to Too Good to Waste.

Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: “These simple, recycled, compostable boxes, provide the perfect means to deliver a simple message, transport a tasty meal, and help restaurants to throw away less food. Diners tell us that food waste is the sustainability issue that matters most when they’re eating out, so this is a brilliant way to show their customers they’re addressing it.”

The SRA ran the initial Too Good To Waste campaign in London in 2011 in response to its own findings that the average restaurant throws out 21 tonnes of food a year and that embarrassment is the main reason more diners don’t ask to take food home. About a third of all restaurant food waste, or seven tonnes (the weight of a London bus), is swept directly from diners’ plates into the bin.

Mark Brigden, technical director at Biopac, added: “This is a great initiative for a local authority to work with local businesses to ultimately reduce the amount of food waste. We are proud to have been involved in this project and encourage other local authorities to do the same. The boxes are made from wood pulp that is produced from sustainable forests in Europe and coated with a compostable material to render them leak proof. They are therefore functional and sustainable and, when they’ve reached the end of their life, can be fully composted, so are very kind to the environment. ”

Biopac manufactured and printed 25,000 boxes for the Oxfordshire campaign, distributing a carton of 250 boxes to all participating restaurants.