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Non separated waste produced by Mass Retailers (supermarkets and hypermarkets) accounts for about 40% of all urban waste. Management of this type of waste is costly and logistically complex. The organic waste that Mass Retailers produce mostly consists of unsold food products that have to be disposed of for various reasons:
packaging, seasonal produce or samples, physical standards, changes in corporate image, business closure, recommended sell-by dates, new product launches, sudden bad weather, errors in purchasing programmes, etc. NOW is an innovative model for the sustainable management of organic waste, proposed by CAUTO, aimed at recovering unsold products of a suitable quality in terms of health and hygiene and then donating these or reprocessing them as food resources.
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At present, the conventional systems adopted by Mass Retailers do not separate organic waste from the rest of their waste products, even though organic waste accounts for 80% of total waste. Thanks to NOW this part of the Mass Retailers' waste can extend its own life cycle by becoming food donations for social purposes or turned into animal fodder, and so no longer just thrown away. NOW also makes it possible to recover other types of waste, such as packaging, wood/plastic and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), turning these into goods that can be reused and recycled in line with national standards and European directives.
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NOW is the result of virtuous synergic collaboration between:
Cauto Coop Soc Onlus, a non-profit organisation that manages the waste, from its selection to its transport, its donation and eventual disposal;
Mass Retailers, who donate their un-sold products;
Municipalities and municipal concerns where the Mass Retailers have their sales outlets;
Charities who receive the food donations and then re-distribute these for social purposes among their users.
The Italian law governing this process is Law n°155 dated 25/06/2003 "Discipline governing the distribution of food products for social solidarity purposes", better known as the
Good Samaritan Law", whose goal is to turn waste food products to account.
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Thanks to European Commission LIFE+ funding, NOW will acquire technical and scientific validity, thus becoming a model for the management of organic waste that can be easily transferred and adopted by other bodies in Italy and throughout Europe as part of a common environmental protection policy.
The NOW model project involves the follow actions:
Trials and involvement via implementation of NOW in all municipalities throughout the province of Brescia and the sales outlets of leading Mass Retailers in the area;
Communication and promotion of the model, aimed at the major beneficiaries, with special attention paid to schools, families and students. Specific educational tools will be developed to encourage a new culture of the environment;
Dissemination, diffusion and presentation of the model by building a European network, involving the press and virtual social platforms and by organising national and international events and fairs.
Monitoring, analysis and accounting of the results through the drafting and publication of a technical/scientific document, thanks to consultants at the Edizioni Ambiente Study Centre.
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NOW is a three-year plan (2011-2014) split into three different steps aimed at encouraging its implementation throughout the intended territory: by the Mass Retailers and the municipal concern for ecological services in Brescia to begin with; then by a wider number of Mass Retailers throughout the province of Brescia.
This means that NOW will recover as many food products as possible and so distribute these to an increasing large number of the deprived.

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NOW is a new system for the management of waste food products coming from Mass Retailers, especially the organic fraction of their waste. It generates economic, environmental and social benefits.
Improvements in performance over the course of the three-year period will be seen in terms of:
Reduced CO2 emissions caused by food waste;
Less total waste produced by Mass Retailers;
Less non separated waste;
Increased amounts of recovered waste;
Lower waste management costs for Mass Retailers;
More profit in the balance sheets of the towns and cities with Mass Retailer outlets;
Greater investment in jobs involving the selection and sorting of waste and its storage;
A valid response to the need for food felt by the deprived sectors of the community thanks to the support given to charities in the shape of donations of products that can no longer be sold.
This innovative system mainly involves the following actions:
Increased waste selection.
Improved tools.
Implementation of food donation.
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NOW for all and all for NOW!
NOW is a virtuous model because it is only made possible thanks to the participation of different stakeholders, each of these benefiting in economic, social and environmental terms:
Mass Retailers adopt a waste management system with a great impact in terms of Social Responsibility; it lets them recover food for charity, safely and in compliance with current laws and standards, before the food becomes waste. This is an ethical and ecological choice that turns into an immediate advantage due to the reduced cost of product disposal.
Citizens living in the towns and cities where NOW is introduced benefit from the environmental advantages offered by this model, i.e. less waste and lower CO2 emissions.
The deprived sectors of society and the non-profit organisations serving these benefit from the fact that their growing need for food can now be satisfied.
Schools, students and families benefit from an ecology education programme aimed at enriching their environmental culture and experience, leading to changes in their own behaviour and the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle.
Non-profit organisations can reproduce this virtuous ecological business model to create jobs for the disadvantaged and so turn the opportunities offered by the environment into social, environmental and economic benefits.
Learn more: NOW for all
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Cauto Cooperativa Sociale Onlus | via Buffalora 3/e, 25135 Brescia | | Tel. 030.3690311 | P.Iva 03329360170
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