Consumer Choice Center criticises Chancellor’s plastic packaging tax

PACKAGING NEWS: The Consumer Choice Center’s (CCC) Fred Roeder believes the UK should not tax plastic packaging but enforce littering laws.

While applauding the decision to abandon plans for a ‘latte levy’, Fred Roeder, the London-based managing director of the Consumer Choice Center which represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe, criticised Philip Hammond’s tax plans.

“The good news is that the UK government dropped their plan for the ‘latte levy’ which would have penalised consumers who buy drinks during their commute or on the road,” he said. “The bad news is that the Conservative government did not pivot from fighting against plastics to actually enforcing existing littering laws.”

“The new plans to impose a tax on imported and locally manufactured plastic packaging will not significantly impact marine plastic pollution but only burden UK consumers with a new tax. Taxing plastic packaging penalises all consumers for the bad behaviour of a few who actually litter. Enforcing existing littering laws is the best domestic driver to lower the UK’s contribution to global pollution,” said Roeder

Roeder furthermore suggested that the UK’s marine pollution footprint was merely marginal: “Given that merely 0.1% of global marine plastic pollution is caused by the United Kingdom we should be more focused on how to make the main polluters such as China, India, and Indonesia enforce environmental standards and property rights.”

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Budget 2018: Industry responds

ENERGY LIVE NEWS: Plastic packaging tax won’t work

Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, Fred Roeder, said: “The good news is that the UK Government dropped their plan for the ‘latte levy’ which would have penalised consumers who buy drinks during their commute or on the road. The bad news is that the Conservative government did not pivot from fighting against plastics to actually enforcing existing littering laws.

“The new plans to impose a tax on imported and locally manufactured plastic packaging will not significantly impact marine plastic pollution but only burden UK consumers with a new tax. Taxing plastic packaging penalises all consumers for the bad behaviour of a few who actually litter. Enforcing existing littering laws is the best domestic driver to lower the UK’s contribution to global pollution.”

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Plastic crackdown: Europe moves to ban single-use plastic

GREENBIZ: However, Bill Wirtz, policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said the EU Parliament was wrong to approve the new plastics rules, arguing regulators should avoid rushing for “uninformed” bans which could push consumers towards alternatives that end up harming the environment in other ways.

“It should be up to consumers to decide what products they use,” he said. “If you believe that plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s fine, but going on an uninformed craze against anything made out of plastic is neither rational nor productive.”

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

European parliament approves wide ranging ban single use plastics

CONNECTING PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY: Consumer Choice Centre: Are  alternatives actually better for the environment?

The Consumer Choice Center takes a more critical view by stating that the approval is bad news for European consumers.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) says:

“90% of the Parliament just voted to ban a vast array of single-use plastic items, including oxodegradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of styrofoam, as well as straws, coffee stirrers balloon sticks and ear buds made of plastics. I’m fairly positive that those 90% did not investigate the evidence of whether alternative products are actually better on an environmental level.”

“Studies have shown that the unintended consequences of plastic bans can often be worse for the environment. Take the example of single-use plastic bags: cotton bags might appear more environmentally friendly, but if their re-use rates are too low – which they are, provenly, on average – then we actually end up using more resources,” said Wirtz

“As for littering: the Parliament should find better measures to prevent littering from happening in the first place, instead of continuously outlawing items that are useful to consumers. With high littering fines, we should make perpetrators of this pollution pay for the damages caused,” said Wirtz

“It should be up to consumers to decide what products they use. If you believe that plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s fine, but going on an uninformed craze against anything made out of plastic is neither rational nor productive.” said Wirtz.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Single use plastic items to be banned from EU market from 2021

FM WORLD: But Bill Wirtz, policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, says this approval is bad news for European consumers.

Wirtz said: “Ninety per cent of the Parliament just voted to ban a vast array of single-use plastic items, including oxo-degradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of Styrofoam, as well as straws, coffee-stirrers balloon sticks and ear buds made of plastics. I’m fairly positive that those 90 per cent did not investigate the evidence of whether alternative products are actually better on an environmental level.”

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Plastic crackdown: Europe moves to ban single-use plastic

BUSINESS GREEN: However, Bill Wirtz, policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Centre (CCC), said the EU Parliament was wrong to approve the new plastics rules, arguing regulators should avoid rushing for “uninformed” bans which could push consumers towards alternatives that end up harming the environment in other ways.

“It should be up to consumers to decide what products they use,” he said. “If you believe that plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s fine, but going on an uninformed craze against anything made out of plastic is neither rational nor productive.”

READ MORE

mm

About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

What are stakeholders saying about the EU plastics ban?

EPPM: Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center Bill Wirtz said: “90 per cent of the Parliament just voted to ban a vast array of single-use plastic items … I’m fairly positive that those 90% did not investigate the evidence of whether alternative products are actually better on an environmental level. Studies have shown that the unintended consequences of plastic bans can often be worse for the environment. Take the example of single-use plastic bags: cotton bags might appear more environmentally friendly, but if their re-use rates are too low – which they are, provenly, on average – then we actually end up using more resources.”

READ MORE

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

CCC criticizes European Parliament’s vote on plastics strategy

According to the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), Parliamentarians have now created a more restrictive strategy than the one originally suggested by the European Commission, and are about to start negotiations with the European Council.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the CCC says this approval is bad news for European consumers. “90% of the Parliament just voted to ban a vast array of single-use plastic items, including oxodegradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of styrofoam, as well as straws, coffee stirrers balloon sticks and ear buds made of plastics. I’m fairly positive that those 90% did not investigate the evidence of whether alternative products are actually better on an environmental level,” said Wirtz.

“Studies have shown that the unintended consequences of plastic bans can often be worse for the environment. Take the example of single-use plastic bags: cotton bags might appear more environmentally friendly, but if their re-use rates are too low – which they are, provenly, on average – then we actually end up using more resources,” said Wirtz.

“As for littering: the Parliament should find better measures to prevent littering from happening in the first place, instead of continuously outlawing items that are useful to consumers. With high littering fines, we should make perpetrators of this pollution pay for the damages caused,” said Wirtz.

“It should be up to consumers to decide what products they use. If you believe that plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s fine, but going on an uninformed craze against anything made out of plastic is neither rational nor productive.” said Wirtz.

Originally published at https://www.recycling-magazine.com/2018/10/25/ccc-criticizes-european-parliaments-vote-on-plastics-strategy/

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

European Parliament approves single-use plastics ban

BRITISH PLASTICS & RUBBER: Responding to the news, Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) says the approval is bad news for European consumers.

“90 per cent of the Parliament just voted to ban a vast array of single-use plastic items, including oxodegradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of styrofoam, as well as straws, coffee stirrers balloon sticks and ear buds made of plastics. I’m fairly positive that those 90 per cent did not investigate the evidence of whether alternative products are actually better on an environmental level,” Wirtz said.

“Studies have shown that the unintended consequences of plastic bans can often be worse for the environment. Take the example of single-use plastic bags: cotton bags might appear more environmentally friendly, but if their re-use rates are too low – which they are, provenly, on average – then we actually end up using more resources,” he continued.

“As for littering: the Parliament should find better measures to prevent littering from happening in the first place, instead of continuously outlawing items that are useful to consumers. With high littering fines, we should make perpetrators of this pollution pay for the damages caused.

“It should be up to consumers to decide what products they use. If you believe that plastic isn’t fantastic, that’s fine, but going on an uninformed craze against anything made out of plastic is neither rational nor productive.” Wirtz concluded.

READ MORE

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Do you want to save the turtles? Don’t ban plastics – ban littering

Like any good Londoner, I used the fantastic summer weather to kayak from Limehouse to Hackney, discovering that part of the city by water.

As a fairly experienced river and sea kayaker, I was taken aback by how full of litter London’s waters are.

At around the same time, the national and global debate on how to tackle marine plastic pollution was gathering momentum, amplified by shocking pictures of turtles injured by straws and other plastics.

The EU has outlined its plans to outlaw single-use plastics, and the UK government has signalled that post-Brexit Britain will have a very simple approach: ban them. Besides the widely discussed plans to prohibit straws and plastic balloon sticks, the UK is also looking into banning single-use plastic cutlery and plates, while environment secretary Michael Gove appeared to suggest he was considering a ban on disposable nappies.

However, the EU and the UK government have both missed one crucial fact: just two per cent of total marine plastic pollution is caused by citizens of Europe and the US combined. The UK likely contributes around a tenth of one per cent to global marine pollution.

Embracing compostable products as the silver bullet is also not an honest approach. To reap the perceived benefit of compostable products, which typically cost more than traditional containers, we would need to ensure that the packaging will indeed be composted after use, and not littered or thrown into non-compostable trash.

Politicians seems to be confused. If the aim is to clean up our oceans, we should be trying to reduce litter, not banning the practical products some people throw away.

Walking across London Bridge, one dearly misses any clean – let alone recycling-friendly – way of getting rid of rubbish. The easiest way for London’s residents and many visitors is to drop trash on the street or in the river. No wonder that kayaking in the Thames is an unpleasant experience.

London heavily reduced the availability of rubbish bins due to the fear of terrorist attacks dating back to the era of the IRA. With the threat of terrorism still very much on the political radar, we simply do not have enough bins.

But there are ways of balancing safety with the city’s waste disposal needs.

Some places, such as the Tube, offer transparent plastic bags that ought to prevent bombs but still let people throw away their rubbish. During the Olympics, Boris Johnson increased the number of bins on the Tube by 25 per cent to cope with additional waste.

And this hasn’t been the only attempt to find creative ways to solve London’s litter problem. The innovative and bomb-proof Renew recycling receptacles (paid for by displaying digital ads to Londoners) introduced in 2012 were a great idea, but commercially flopped just one year after rollout.

Instead of trying to ban various plastics, policymakers should instead help consumers to dispose and recycle at a high degree. Modern recycling technologies allow us to reuse plastics once they have been disposed. Getting Londoners better access to rubbish bins and recycling facilities is the single best way to encourage them to use them.

At the same time, we should enforce anti-littering laws and fine those who break them, instead of punishing consumers who use single-use plastics and dispose of them responsibly.

That will clean up our streets and our rivers. But when it comes to the oceans, there is little point in symbolically focusing on the 0.1 per cent of marine pollution that the UK contributes – we should ask how to tackle the rest of it.

Developing countries with weak property rights and low environmental standards are the main cause for marine litter. Pushing internationally for stronger property rights in countries such as China, Indonesia, or Brazil, and helping them invest in better technologies, will do much more for sea turtles than banning balloon sticks from British birthday parties. Plastic isn’t the problem. Litter is. It’s time for politicians to realise that.

Fred Roeder is managing director of the Consumer Choice Center

This piece originally appeared in print in CityAM and can be found here: https://consumerchoicecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/cityam-2018-10-22-5bcd1073449bd.pdf

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.