Halifax mulls tax breaks for businesses donating food destined for landfill
'It's great food, it's nutritious, but it may not have a great sell value,' says Coun. Jennifer Watts
The city of Halifax is considering throwing its support behind a national initiative to offer federal tax breaks to businesses that donate food they might otherwise throw out.
Nick Jennery, the executive director for Feed Nova Scotia, supports the idea from the National Zero Waste Council. Feed Nova Scotia provides donated fresh and non-perishable food to 146 food banks across the province.
Jennery said much of the food they receive is past expiry, but still safe to eat. He said Feed Nova Scotia carefully inspects every item before it gets shipped out.
"Here's the rule of thumb — if I wouldn't eat it, it doesn't go out the door," he said Monday.
Coun. Jennifer Watts echoed that sentiment. She said the motion Halifax regional council will debate Tuesday will help fill shelves at food banks across the province.
"It's great food, it's nutritious, but it may not have a great sell value," Watts said.
Feed Nova Scotia gets 21 per cent of its food from corporations such as large grocery chains. Some of that food is considered not suitable for sale and would otherwise end up in the landfill. That's a costly amount of waste, according to Jennery.
"It costs, on average, about 12.5 cents per kilogram to take dented cans, for instance, to the landfill — because they need to be shredded and those types of things," he said. "It costs a lot of money."
Feed Nova Scotia has already started working with Sobeys and other grocery stores to make it easier for them to donate food when it's available.
"We're not waiting for any federal initiative. The need is right now and the opportunity is right now," Jennery said.
The motion that Halifax regional council is considering would also call on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to support the initiative.