Posted 28 июня 2023,, 13:19

Published 28 июня 2023,, 13:19

Modified 28 июня 2023,, 14:25

Updated 28 июня 2023,, 14:25

Products — for free: what the new bill promises the poor

Products — for free: what the new bill promises the poor

28 июня 2023, 13:19
The discussion about not throwing out expired products escalates every time after the appearance of footage of pensioners rummaging through the trash to find food thrown out of the store. Why is it more profitable for networks to poison food in the trash than to distribute it to those in need? And how to change it?

Alexander Dybin

The State Duma has begun work on a bill that could legalize the practice of free distribution of food from stores. The bill provides for the abolition of VAT on goods with an expiring expiration date, which the networks will give to charities or simply to those in need.

Whenever a video appears on the web with old people who are rummaging through garbage sites at supermarkets, this question arises: can't the stores give away these products if they throw them away anyway? Retailers have repeatedly explained that they cannot give away products for free, since they will still have to pay VAT for them. And the discarded uda is written off and it is unnecessary to pay for it. It is a paradox, but it is cheaper for shops to pay for waste removal than to distribute food to the poor.

According to Izvestia, a bill designed to remove these costs from sellers has been prepared for submission to parliament.

«At the stage of retail trade and consumption, annual food losses in the Russian Federation account for about a fifth of their production volume, » the explanatory note to the project says, «this phenomenon is caused by various factors — from natural climatic and weather to human, expressed in violations of storage conditions. The draft law is aimed at excluding food products with expiring expiration dates from the list of taxable objects, which will allow them to be exempt from VAT in case of gratuitous transfer to third parties. Thus, the problem of the subsequent processing of this category of goods and their shortage in certain social groups will be solved simultaneously.

Help with food is needed in every city

According to Alexandra Sinyak, the head of the Dobrodomik project, which organizes free lunches for pensioners, the ability to pick up food from stores would give a multiple increase to such charity projects, despite the fact that the need for this assistance in the country is great.

«This could give maximum scaling across the country and increase aid, » says the interlocutor, «this is a very good story. Now recycling is cheaper for networks than charity. We see a great need to get free food. Where we open our cafe, if it is a small town of up to 10,000 people, then up to fifty people come there every day. If we are talking about large cities, then each cafe is visited by 350 or more people. In general, we feed 1,200 elderly people for free every day. Such help is needed in every city in Russia. And this is only one category, because there are still many children, disabled people and other people who need help».


Help without fraud


Retail chains have already stated that they approve of the initiative, and some have already partially distributed products with expiring expiration dates. However, in such volumes that did not make the weather. Experts note that the idea of exempting a fifth of the assortment of stores from VAT causes many temptations. If you don't use these products for charity, but return them for sale or catering, you can put the difference in your pocket. It is unlikely that such a fraud will be massive, after all, the buyer sees the expiration date and will not buy the delay to his own detriment. Responsible catering will not get involved with this either. And crooks are still feeding people with similar products without any benefits. Nevertheless, Anna Garkusha, an expert of the environmental movement «Separate Collection», believes that legislators will have to think through protection against such frauds. In general, talking about the effect for the environment, the expert notes that it will be positive, but it is very difficult to calculate it in numbers.

«On the one hand, the products that go to landfills are really harmful, they produce greenhouse gases, odors, » says Anna Garkusha, «on the other, we do not fully know how much real garbage is in these wastes, and how many products that could still be saved. There is an estimate that 17.5 million tons of food waste turn out to be in landfills per year, how much of them is waste, roughly speaking, potato peelings, and how many expired products from stores, no one will say. It just hasn't been studied. Therefore, it is difficult to digitize the effect. But in any case, it will be good to help people with food and remove this volume from garbage, there will be fewer greenhouse gases, less load on equipment, fewer garbage truck flights.»