Italy looks to cut cost of unpackaged food

Italy looks to cut cost of unpackaged food

Italian shoppers could soon receive discounts on goods sold without packaging to reduce single-use plastic.

Food, drink, shampoo, liquid wash and detergents sold from dispensers or in reused containers could be cheaper and retailers would receive incentives to offer unpackaged produce.

The measures, which are set to be debated by the new cabinet this Thursday, might say that citizens who give up cars and motorbikes could be given free public transport passes or subsidised bicycles instead.

Under an urban reforestation plan, a €20 million is due to be invested in electric and hybrid school buses and environmental teaching.

The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (Ispra) reported last week that more than 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the Mediterranean each year. 

The trash is mostly shopping bags, plastic bottles and packaging. Fishing communities say their nets now collect more waste than fish. Ispra said Italian beaches collect between 500 and 1,000 items of garbage for every 100 metres.

Sainsbury’s, the second-biggest UK supermarket chain, removed all plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables and is net bags made from recycled bottles and encouraging people to bring containers to the stores.

Greenpeace reported in 2018 that supermarkets must try harder to cut down on unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, this year said it would banning brands using excessive packaging from next year.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the government was looking to be a leader in sustainability. 

Last week Italy’s council of ministers passed environmental legislation, which Sergio Costa, the environment minister, said was “a revolution for the system… and the base on which we are founding the green new deal”.

Costa said that while most attention was on the trash being dumped at sea, most junk ended up in Italy’s rivers.

“If on the one hand it is true that the amount of plastic envelopes in rivers has decreased, thanks to European regulations and the introduction of biodegradable envelopes, up to about 1 per cent density, on the other we must note that the amount of bottles increased, reaching even 14 per cent, followed by food wrappers with 12 per cent, not to mention cigarette butts, with 9 per cent,” the minister posted on Facebook. “Plastic waste in rivers represents about 37.5 per cent of the total present.”



Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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