A move by a South Australian waste watchdog to attempt to regulate the size of chicken schnitzels served in Adelaide eateries has drawn a stunned response by politicians and members of the small business community, including independent Senator Nick Xenophon.
According to the ABC, Keep South Australia Beautiful (KSAB) has commenced talks with the state government to start a trial that will see it monitor the size of schnitzels served at pubs and restaurants in a bid to reduce food waste and landfill.
“We have to be innovative and look at good ideas, and this is one that’s come up,” KSAB chief executive John Phillips said.
“Sometimes I watch the body language of people when the meal comes out — their jaw drops literally when they see the size of some of the meals and a lot of the product is left on the plate.
“This is about educating people to look at their habits or behaviour so they can take a personal responsibility.”
As a government-funded agency, Phillips says this measure would be a part of its responsibility to reduce waste and landfill.
But the proposal has left independent Senator Nick Xenophon and others gobsmacked.
Xenophon told SmartCompany this morning KSAB’s proposed “lean cuisine” approach to tackling environmental issues is unreasonable for business operators.
“I’ve heard of government being lean and mean but this is taking it to the next level,” Xenophon says.
“Is there going to be a schnitzel tax?
“There are better ways to tackle the problem than an assault on chicken schnitzels.
“It’s a question of an education campaign and driving awareness, it needs a cultural shift. You don’t do it by regulation, people will resent that.”
Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council for Small Business Australia, echoes the sentiment, calling KSAB’s actions “embarrassing” and “hilarious”.
“Unless Adelaide is full of schnitzels, it’s such a minor issue,” Strong told SmartCompany.
“If we start doing that, we’re going to have to regulate the size of hot dogs and bread.”
Strong says a better use of the waste watchdog’s time would be to look at what bigger businesses are doing and how they’re performing on important issues like recycling.
And for small businesses, he says the agency should be looking at innovative ways to make it easier for them to switch to recyclable packaging.
“Most small businesses do think about their environmental impact,” he says.
“They regulate themselves.”
“There are ways to help people with recycling, help them get good at it and make recyclable packaging more feasible.”