Our government is saving us from the threat of “dangerous" disposable merchandise - with taxes!
Recently a piece of legislation in France was passed to tax plastic cutlery to try to encourage customers to buy more eco-friendly products, and Paris is planning to expand the measure to include several other items, the environment minister announced last Monday.
There are similar taxes on disposable products in Malta and closer to home in Ireland; the plastic carrier bag tax of 15 Eurocents per bag was introduced in 2002. In England we are starting to see supermarkets charge for plastic bags, or only offer “bags for life" at checkouts or their Anya Hindmarch equivalents. Sainsburys have announced this week that they will not give carrier bags away at the tills and customers must request them.
There is apparently a law in Spain that states that companies serving food are required to lay a new table cloth (or serve food on a wipe clean table) after each meal. Restaurants in Spain use large amounts of disposable paper table cloths as this law would require the restaurants to either have an abundance of linen table covers or serve their meals on fast-food style wipe clean tables in order to meet their obligations. Not really the look most establishments would aim for (unless you run a KFC/Burger King et al).
In the UK we have some legislation regarding disposable items which don't fit well with the apparent “eco" policies of governments past and present. One such law is that reused paper cannot be used to make items which come into direct contact with food. A sensible idea methinks; you don't want to be eating your lunch from a paper plate which used to be toilet paper. However many companies in UK, in order to be seen to be going “green" and ‘doing their bit’ are offering plates and Catering Supplies made from re-graded material. But how you ask? Surely hundreds are falling ill from bum to mouth disease or something? Well no, what the companies are doing is laminating the top of the paper plates with plastic so the food don't actually come into contact with the surface of the paper. Great idea?! No, bad idea. The product is now single use in the strongest sense of the word(s). These new plates cannot be recycled into anything and will need to go to landfill as the paper and plastic are fused together for all eternity.
Just because an items is made from recycled material does not mean it is a “green" product, attention to how the product is made and if the product can be recycled after use is most important. Every product Event Supplies sell can be recycled and many are made from recycled paper where the law allows, and they do let you know what the goods are made from. Beware of people cashing in on the whole green hoopla at the moment with really not very eco sound items.
A common law and set of taxes for the whole of the EU could possibly be the way forward with regard to disposable products such as paper plates, Paper Cups and Plastic Cups . One country taxing a particular disposable product heavily could mean governments in their quest to be seen to be doing the eco-sound will unintentionally close disposable manufacturing companies leaving thousands out of work.
I do wonder however, how the Government profiteering over anything disposable will save the planet. People will simply spend more and we doubt all the money in the world can stop icecaps from melting and landfill sites from being overfilled. Personally I like the plastic bag tax, this one works and fewer plastic bags are being used as a result and people still get their groceries home. Some items however, you cannot simply substitute with products that are “for life". People need to be responsible for recycling; the onus should be on us at home and work.
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