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Italy offers plastic-free discount

ENVIRONMENT

A “climate decree” proposed by the Italian government will offer discounts to shoppers who purchase goods free of plastic packaging. Under the scheme, customers who buy food loose rather than wrapped in plastic will receive a 20 percent tax cut. The same will apply to customers who buy liquids such as drinks, detergents and shampoos in reusable containers. Retailers who market plastic-packaging-free products will also receive the tax cut. The move is an effort by the Italian government to tackle the immense volume of plastic littering the country’s coast. It’s been revealed that more than 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the Mediterranean each year, most of which comprises bags, bottles and packaging.


Other measures proposed include providing free public transport tickets to those who stop using their cars or mopeds, a €20m investment in electric and hybrid school buses, and an urban reforestation plan. “We have norms that will counteract the climate emergency at 360 degrees,” Sergio Costa, the environment minister, wrote on Facebook. And it appears the electorate supports the government action. According to market research, almost nine out of 10 Italians (89 percent) are willing to give up plastic-packaged products to fight global warming; a further 53 percent would give up the use of their cars to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.


“It’s difficult to assess what kind of impact each measure will have but for sure, this decree is a start,” Gianfranco Pellegrino, a politics professor at Rome’s Luiss University, told The Guardian. “The environment minister is taking climate change seriously and this is an improvement in respect of previous ministers. We need a law because we can’t confront the climate emergency without legislation.”

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