Turin spurs social inclusion with projects reducing food waste and increasing recycling
The Porta Palazzo organic project has three main objectives:
- to reduce food waste through the collection and distribution of unsold foods in the largest open-air market in Europe and, in the process, ensure that those in need can access quality foods in a dignified manner
- the project seeks to increase the amount of materials that will be reused or recycled, thereby reducing the amount of incinerated material
- the project also furthers the city’s social inclusion agenda by providing a meaningful way for volunteer asylum seekers to engage in their community through the collection of unsold foods.
Developed with the help of a private partner, Novamont S.p.A., Turin has implemented an innovative system to encourage the proper separation of food waste. Turin also enlisted a local environmental NGO, Eco dalle Città, to engage a group of volunteers, including numerous asylum seekers, to collect unsold food.
The project requires significant political commitment and coordination of multiple city departments, organisations and representatives.
The results speak for themselves: the amount of food waste that is properly sorted has reached nearly 77%. At the same time, the organic waste being sorted and recovered has increased significantly from roughly 8% of the total to nearly 33%.
The project now recovers nearly 400 kg of unsold products every day for redistribution at the market itself or through nearby community facilities, thereby extending further its reach.
In addition to promoting a more circular economy, there are also numerous social benefits emerging.
The institutional conditions for such complex, multi-sector and multistakeholder circular economy projects require strong political will and capital in order to motivate and coordinate the various project partners over the long-term.