We can fight climate change without hurting consumers

If you haven’t clocked that we’ve really got it wrong on the environment, you must have been living under a rock.

In the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than we did in the last century – and we only recover 5% of the plastic we currently use. Hurricanes, droughts and coral deaths are caused by climate change. Climate change enhances the spread of life-threatening diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

But as fears of climate change grow, backlash against governments which are making lives harder for working people grows too. The so-called Gilets Jaunes (yellow-jackets) in France have won a concession from President Emmanuel Macron, forcing the self-described ‘Jupiterean’ leader to reverse his plans to hike fuel duty.

The Spectator ran articles entitled, ‘Macron has United France Against Him’ and ‘In Praise of the Gilets Jaunes.’ For hard-working French families, who already spend a huge proportion of their monthly income on commuting between rural areas and cities, a hike in the price of fuel was clearly deeply unwelcome.

Environmentalism may be becoming a bigger priority for people, but the cost of living will always come first. And, as we’ve seen in France, voters turn their backs on governments which give disproportionate focus to climate change at the expense of hard-working people.

We need to improve our track record on climate change, that much is certain. But this doesn’t mean we have to neglect consumers and taxpayers. In plenty of cases, we’re seeing improvements made in areas like plastic and palm oil from socially aware multinationals. We’re seeing start-up companies providing environmentally-friendly options for the socially responsible consumer. Even the small, country pub where I work has ditched plastic straws for bio-degradable and paper equivalents. On a larger scale, Tesco’s has begun to make the move to mushroom punnets over plastic options.

The war on plastic, while not the most pressing concern for climate change, is proof that the private sector, in a socially responsible world, can and will make environmentally friendly moves without government coercion – and without forcing money from the pockets of the consumer.

We can look to our friends for direction This week, the Danish government unveiled its new plastic strategy. The plan mainly centres around the Government setting itself standards on plastic, recycling, and cutting down consumption.

This flies in the face of Britain’s efforts – which have so far involved flirting with taxes on plastic and banning items which don’t majorly contribute to climate change, while insisting on making life harder for consumers in other ways. In the past few months alone, Beer Duty hikes, Fuel Duty unfreezing, and Meat Taxes have received monumental public backlash, and several targeted campaigns against them are currently in progress.

A recent ComRes poll found that, post-Brexit, two-thirds of voters want a pro-business, low-tax economy to generate growth and protect the interests of consumers and taxpayers. As a free-market liberal, I welcome this – but it doesn’t have to mean neglecting the environment. With sensible incentives for businesses, and a free-market approach to encourage environmentally-friendly alternatives to sluggish multinationals, the government can do its bit to help the environment without making life harder for working people.

Originally published at https://www.thearticle.com/we-can-fight-climate-change-without-hurting-consumers/

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.”

READ MORE

mm

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.”

READ MORE

mm

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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

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.

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/

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.

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

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.