Packaging payments

This week, our world is about to get a little less polluted. The Dutch government has effectuated regulation conceived last August in conjunction with the corporate world and the municipalities to collect and process the plastics in the garbage separately from the other waste.

No worries there, separated collection of garbage makes it easy to process it, as the separation is already done by the polluters. This saves money and energy, and thus the environment. Tis far the good news. The bad news is that separated collection actually takes a lot of money and effort, as the entire infrastructure to actually collect the stuff has to be put into place. Think in stuff such as bins, trucks, personnel, storage and processing plants. They all cost us dear money. But hey: in an effort to pollute less, why not?

The agreement can be summarized as follows: the corporate world pays packaging taxes, of which half is directed towards a fund (‘Afvalfonds’) to pay for the processing of the separatedly collected packaging garbage, and the other half is directed straight towards the government’s treasury. This should increase the amount of recycled garbage from 20% to 42%.
Nice, clean and simple regulation, with a clear focus.

Immediately after the announcement of this regulation, the supermarkets announced all products with packaging affected by these new rules would become more expensive (1% up), as they would have to pay a certain amount for every piece sold. This week, the price-increase kicked in and the CDA has woken up. Of all parties, the CDA (whose state-secretary Pieter van Geel actually signed the agreement) have complained about the increase in price as it negatively affects the consumers, us.
Somehow, CDA could be on to something: why does this taxation lead to an increase of exactly 1%, and not a fixed price of a few cents? Likely unintended, this question should be answered by research which is to be conducted by the NMA.

Furthermore, half of all paid taxation is headed directly for the treasury, yet it is not clear whether that money is destined for improving the environment (if possible at all). It seems to be used for lowering the social fees to be paid by employers, which is hardly an environmental-friendly destination. PvdD and SP: raise your voice! It is done right now by the VVD, the ones initiating the current destination of the money, which is also strange. Oh well, they must’ve forgot. 😉

Eventually, the taxation of packaging would lead to less garbage to dispose of completely, and more recycling. Whether this will happen is the question, when the garbage is simply chucked to China to be processed, the environmental burden is simply relocated, and not lowered. It is cheaper though.
Finally, with an indicated lowered amount of garbage to be collected by the municipalities, the fees for collection would have to be lowered. When that happens, I will definitely blog about it!