Italy will soon pass a law that forces supermarkets to donate their unsold and waste food to charities.
The home of pizza and pasta currently faces a €12 billion ($17.9 billion AUD) waste problem when it comes to thrown out unused, unsold food. With this new legislation, the Italian government hopes to remedy the problem.
However, Italy isn't the first country to embrace this new system.
Denmark has recently launched a supermarket that only sells unsold food donated by other supermarkets and businesses. And France introduced a similar bill last February which prohibits supermarkets from both throwing out unsold food and intentionally spoiling unsold food so it can be thrown out.
But unlike France, who at present only impose a fine upon supermarkets seen to be wasting or dumping produce, Italy aims to combat the problem by providing incentives for supermarkets to donate their food.
These incentives include:
- Offering reductions on rubbish taxes, depending on how much each supermarket gives to charity.
- Waving the need to declare food donations in advance, so that supermarket can alter their donations based on their stock and a food's expiration date.
- Providing leeway with donating food after its 'best before' date.
"We are making it more convenient for companies to donate than to waste. We currently recover 550 million tonnes of excess food each year but we want to arrive at one billion in 2016," said Italy's Agricultural Minister, Maurizio Martina, to La Repubblica.
This isn't something that happens in Australia, with almost 44 million tonnes of food being wasted annually as of 2013.
However the practice of supermarkets, which often dispose of out-of-date food or unwanted produce into large bins or tips, has cultivated a 'dumpster diving' culture, where people go to these large tips and taking the thrown-out food for their own use.
Most of the food (such as loaves of bread, etcetera) is still in its packaging, making much of it still completely edible.
The bill has received great bipartisan support in the Italian government, and is expected to pass soon.