Food waste is a huge issue pressing the people and economies around the world today.
Approximately 795 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition, representing just under 13 percent of the global population, many of them in developing countries. Even as hunger rages, supermarkets, restaurants and homeowners in developed countries throw away large amounts of food on a daily basis.
To start addressing the selfishness of wasting food, Italy is set to become the second European country to legally require supermarkets to donate their food slated for the bin to charities. The bill will hopefully be approved and put into action by Monday, following the lead of France, which passed a bill banning supermarkets from discarding unsold and spoiled food in February.
Interestingly, Italy is providing supermarkets an incentive to donate their food by reducing taxes for every shop that gives away surplus food. With the new bill, businesses will have their taxes reduced by an amount directly proportional to their donations.
Moreover, the bill also includes rules and regulations that will allow business to donate food past their expiration date.
"We are making it more convenient for companies to donate than to waste,” Italy's Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina told La Repubblica. "We currently recover 550 million tons of excess food each year but we want to arrive at 1 billion in 2016.”
This method is clearly tackling the underlying problem that while millions of tons of food is going to waste in Europe and other nations, millions of people in developing countries are going to bed hungry. Italy's bill is therefore a step in the right direction and a stark improvement from the previous rules that required restaurants and businesses to declare their donations.