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Rome offers tax incentive to lower food waste

Rome offers tax incentive to lower food waste

Food producing businesses can apply for the tax cut if they commit to donating surpluses

The reality of running a food business, such as a bakery, is that at the end of the day there are usually products that end up being unsold and then go to the trash. The City of Rome has decided to take serious steps towards cutting down on this cumulative food waste by offering significant rebates on its municipal waste tax (TARI). Such tax cuts will be in the realm of 25%, but may even reach 50%.

Part of the new ‘Rome Food Policy’

Fighting food waste is not only a global goal, sanctioned by the UN’s 2030 Agenda but also a priority of the European strategy for the circular economy. It suffices to say, in fact, that in Italy alone, about 5.6 million tons of food surpluses are produced in a year, representing 16.8% of annual consumption. Out of this surplus, 5.1 million tons of food are wasted, meaning it is not reused for human consumption. We are talking about an economic loss of 12.6 billion euros per year (or 210 euros per capita).

As a necessary response, the “Rome Food Policy” was devised - an initiative designed to combat food waste and implement a sustainable policy of waste reduction and recovery of excess foodstuffs, to be allocated to the most fragile groups of society. This action, also contained in the SECAP (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan signed by the Covenant of Mayors), plays an environmental and social role of great importance by helping to reduce the production of organic waste, food poverty and CO2 emissions.

Thanks to this project, private operators in the food sector (such as, bakeries, delicatessens, supermarkets, markets, bars, restaurants, canteens, food industries), which present surplus redistribution projects, free of charge, will be entitled to a reduction of the TARI of 25%. This concerns the variable part of the municipal fee and is based on the total amount of food donated.

With this initiative, Rome intends to transform what is already a good, but irregular, practice into a stable model of waste prevention and social support. The authorities are sure it will translate into environmental and economic benefits, not only for those who join the project but for the entire Roman residents’ community.

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