The rewards would take the form of tax refunds for companies, supermarkets or foodservice outlets that notify authorities of their intention to donate with five days prior notice.
"Punishing those who waste is of little value,” member of the Democratic Party and bill rapporteur, Maria Chiara Gadda, told La Repubblica. “And this law makes it clear, because it is based on the concept of donations."
Italy’s carrot method lies in contrast to neighbouring France’s stick. The French food waste law, which came into effect last month, fines supermarkets who fail to donate unsold but edible food to charities which then redistribute it for either human or animal consumption.
According to the Italian minister of agriculture, Maurizio Martina, Italy already has a good track record in terms of food waste at an international level, but the aim of the law is to improve this. “Every year we recover 550 thousand tons of surplus throughout the supply chain. In 2016 we want to get to one million,” he said. “We have made it more convenient for companies that donate to waste food."
The 17-article bill also covers food safety, fraud and tax evasion. It will also allow association to collect produce left in fields after harvest, with the farmer's permission.
Meanwhile, the fight against food waste is continuing around Europe, with the UK’s food waste reduction bill expected to have its second reading in April this year.
Last month Danish DanChurchAid opened a grocery shop, WeFood, which sells food nearing its expiry date, is improperly labelled or has damaged packaging at a 30 to 50% reduction.
This summer will see the opening in Copenhagen of LØS Market, which claims to be the first zero packaging supermarket in Scandinavia. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers to transport their groceries but bottles will be available for liquids such as wine, oil and soap, which are then returned, washed and reused. The name LØS is a pun in Danish which means ‘single item’ and ‘finding a solution’.