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Subject: Legislating waste away rss

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General Norris
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If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.
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Boaty McBoatface
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A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.
 
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General_Norris wrote:
If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.


My understanding, and I may be wrong, is that they used to use a crapton of Styrofoam and they switched to paper due to market pressures. Without the need for legislation.
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Boaty McBoatface
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ejmowrer wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.


My understanding, and I may be wrong, is that they used to use a crapton of Styrofoam and they switched to paper due to market pressures. Without the need for legislation.
They have, shows you how long it is since I went in one. But they are not the only fast food joined.
 
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Philip Thomas
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slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.


And businesses that waste less won't have to pass the tax onto consumers and will therefore have lower prices.

Where a tax is actually reflecting a real cost to the government (assuming government is paying for waste disposal facilities) there are arguments for imposing it even though the cost will thereby be passed on to (in this case) Mcdonalds customers. Personally, although I freely admit bias, I had rather Mcdonalds customers bear the cost of Mcdonalds wastefulness than the general taxpayer.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Philip Thomas wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.


And businesses that waste less won't have to pass the tax onto consumers and will therefore have lower prices.

Where a tax is actually reflecting a real cost to the government (assuming government is paying for waste disposal facilities) there are arguments for imposing it even though the cost will thereby be passed on to (in this case) Mcdonalds customers. Personally, although I freely admit bias, I had rather Mcdonalds customers bear the cost of Mcdonalds wastefulness than the general taxpayer.
And people that tend to be the ones less able to bear that burden.


 
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If people got 26 years old, they automatically got fired.

I've find this practice inacceptable and have decided never to visit a McDonalds.
 
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Philip Thomas
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slatersteven wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.


And businesses that waste less won't have to pass the tax onto consumers and will therefore have lower prices.

Where a tax is actually reflecting a real cost to the government (assuming government is paying for waste disposal facilities) there are arguments for imposing it even though the cost will thereby be passed on to (in this case) Mcdonalds customers. Personally, although I freely admit bias, I had rather Mcdonalds customers bear the cost of Mcdonalds wastefulness than the general taxpayer.
And people that tend to be the ones less able to bear that burden.




On that basis, why tax businesses at all? They'll only pass on the costs to their customers, who are "less able to bear the burden" almost by definition. (The really rich can survive off their own wealth and don't need, e.g. fast food restaurants).

Why should private employers have to pay payroll taxes? They'll only pass on the costs by paying their employees less, and their employees are less able to bear the burden (the really rich don't work for other people).

In fact, it is very difficult to get the really rich to pay taxes at all! You may think we therefore should not tax. I disagree.
 
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General_Norris wrote:
If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.


From what I remember, when MacDonald's moved into my parent's town, they were made to pay more and/or hire specific people for rubbish collection due to the almost certain increase in rubbish. I forget whether this was kept up.
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Philip Thomas
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anemaat wrote:
If people got 26 years old, they automatically got fired.

I've find this practice inacceptable and have decided never to visit a McDonalds.


I'd like to say I boycott Mcdonalds because of their disgusting ethics, but actually the food is the sticking point for me.
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anemaat wrote:
If people got 26 years old, they automatically got fired.

I've find this practice unacceptable and have decided never to visit a McDonalds.

Never heard of this. I don't eat there because it's not kosher etc. (although there are rumors of kosher ones here) but i thought I've seen older staff there because in America of the 1990's all rest stops on the highway had them in exchange for their bathrooms being open to the public.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Philip Thomas wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.


And businesses that waste less won't have to pass the tax onto consumers and will therefore have lower prices.

Where a tax is actually reflecting a real cost to the government (assuming government is paying for waste disposal facilities) there are arguments for imposing it even though the cost will thereby be passed on to (in this case) Mcdonalds customers. Personally, although I freely admit bias, I had rather Mcdonalds customers bear the cost of Mcdonalds wastefulness than the general taxpayer.
And people that tend to be the ones less able to bear that burden.




On that basis, why tax businesses at all? They'll only pass on the costs to their customers, who are "less able to bear the burden" almost by definition. (The really rich can survive off their own wealth and don't need, e.g. fast food restaurants).

Why should private employers have to pay payroll taxes? They'll only pass on the costs by paying their employees less, and their employees are less able to bear the burden (the really rich don't work for other people).

In fact, it is very difficult to get the really rich to pay taxes at all! You may think we therefore should not tax. I disagree.
Except here we are talking about (just about) food. In some places I believe it is cheaper to eat in MacDonald's to to cook your own meals. Taxes should be levied on luxuries, not on essentials. Now you can argue that mc'ds is not really an essential, but given it's end of the market I would argue for many it is.

 
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* McDonald's does not fire people at 26 years old. It's against the law here and I assume in every other civilized nation... except perhaps Spain. In Spain everyone under the age of 26 is unemployed.

* Waste is a relative term. By that I mean no human activity occurs without waste of some sort. Yes, pressure made McD's switch to paper from Styrofoam. Suits me fine. But to imagine that washing, storing, using a dryer (autoclave) hot enough to sterilize plates, glasses and silverware is somehow free of waste is, well, stupid. Uninformed, at best.

* Their food is okay in many respects. There have been plenty of nutrition studies done that show many of their menu selections are healthy and nutritional. Taste is subjective. I don't care for the taste of their Big Mac or Q-pounders and their fries are too sugary. But they do have a classic burger with fresh lettuce, fresh tomato and a nice bun that tastes pretty good for $3, a price that's hard to beat if you're pressed for time and need something to eat fast.
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slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. The whole business model of McDonalds is to undercut everyone else with crap food at the lowest price. They can't put their prices up too much without threatening that.
 
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anemaat wrote:
If people got 26 years old, they automatically got fired.

I've find this practice inacceptable and have decided never to visit a McDonalds.

Where did you get that information from? That's pretty much the opposite of accurate. McDonald's is known for encouraging the hiring of older workers. It's pretty popular here as a source of second income for retirees.
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sbszine wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. The whole business model of McDonalds is to undercut everyone else with crap food at the lowest price. They can't put their prices up too much without threatening that.

Their competitors, whom are the ones they need to undercut, would presumably be affected by the same tax. You can't just tax a single company.
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damiangerous wrote:
Their competitors, whom are the ones they need to undercut, would presumably be affected by the same tax. You can't just tax a single company.

Sure, but my point is that they are competing with lower waste options. E.g. if I sit down eat a plate of noodles at my favourite place in Chinatown, it's all chipped crockery and plastic chopsticks, and no waste. Whereas sitting down to eat in McDonalds is disposable everything.
 
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General_Norris wrote:
Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?


I am not sure what you are trying to "combat" other then common sense. McDonalds already incorporates 35% postconsumer recycled content into all of their packaging, generate millions of dollars in taxable revenue and feed millions of people.

If only a government agency could run half as well as they do.

Oh, and food experts are lovin it , when they think its organic.

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galad2003 wrote:
I'm curious as to why you singled McDonald's out? What about Burger King or Wendy's? Everything creates waste. I just finished a box of cereal, it had a plastic bag inside and he cardboard box. So why should McDonald's pay a tax but the cereal maker not? I assume you meant to tax anything that produces waste and this is not just another McDonald's is evil thread. So in effect you just created a tax on everything. Good job.

There's no point in singling out McDonalds. If you were implementing such a tax for reasons other than revenue-raising you'd need a quantifiable goal e.g. reduce street garbage or landfill by x amount. If the goal is to reduce garbage in the streets then taxing cereal boxes or other stuff consumed only in the home is not the answer. If we're aiming to reduce packing generally then sure, tax all packaging.

galad2003 wrote:
How would we administer this tax? Is it just a tax on things with waste or are we specifically taxing the packaging? How would we even measure that?

I'd make it a sales tax on the wholesale packaging, so McDonalds (or whoever) can't dodge it via a tax haven.

galad2003 wrote:
You see, companies have an incentive to reduce packaging and waste as it decreases costs and maximizes profits. If they can save 1 penny per hamburger times however many hamburgers they sell well that is a lot of extra profit. They put just enough packing in their products to protect the product, comply with health rules and make it marketable/appetizing. So the free market encourages companies to save money.

Sure, though as you mention, marketing can be an incentive to add packaging. See this geeklist: Why Is This Box So BIG!?? It's full of examples of companies increasing their packing, shipping, warehousing costs, even the final sticker price, all for marketing. See also: DVDs, trade paperbacks, retail videogame boxes containing nothing but a Steam key, etc.

galad2003 wrote:
A tax decreases market transactions. If you look at a supply and demand curve where supply and demand meet that is where a company should price their product. However a tax will raise the price and cause a decrease in sales, the consumer pays some part of the tax, the business pays another. We put up with this because most sane people (not libertarians)recognize that we do need some sort of government and we have to pay for it somehow. Knowing that taxes reduces sales, we have decided it is a good way to discourage bad behaviors such as smoking and drinking.

Further reading: http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1/microecon...

True enough for the scope of this thread, though note that a sin tax is usually priced way higher than a sales tax.

galad2003 wrote:
However, is producing package waste a bad thing? What is your goal in reducing package waste? Like I said above the packaging is created for a reason, in the case of McDonald's it would ruin the meal if they just threw it in a bag with no wrappers on the burger and fries, it would be unappealing to the consumer and possibly be against some sort of health regulations (like if they didn't put it in a bag and just handed you a burger over the counter).

That's a false dichotomy. It's not that the only choices are the exact packaging they have now or no packaging at all. You could, for example, serve burgers on a plate for people eating in. (I don't know whether that's viable for McDonalds or not, but certainly it's viable for the cheap noodle place I eat at and indeed the burger place I eat at.)

Also, as alluded to earlier, some packaging -- e.g. happy meal packaging -- is for marketing, rather than to meet health and safety requirements.

galad2003 wrote:
Plus keep in mind all this paper and cardboard can be recycled.

Can be, but usually isn't, at least at the McDonalds I know of. Often it just ends up on the pavement outside or crammed into a regular bin. Again, if a tax is aimed at reducing garbage on the streets, that's obviously stuff that isn't currently being recycled. Improving recycling would help a lot, though it's better not to generate the waste in the first place.

galad2003 wrote:
So in conclusion, A tax is unnecessary, it would pass a financial burden on to the consumer and producer, hard too administer and ultimately not reduce waste.

You seem to be having it both ways here. A tax is going to reduce sales, but reduced sales of the packaged product won't reduce waste from the packaging?

galad2003 wrote:
Personally I would just encourage people to recycle more and have the businesses put a recycle bin in the restaurants. Or better yet just don't buy crap you don't need. Always the best way to reduce waste.

Yep, good points.

galad2003 wrote:
** I tried to answer this post civilly and intelligently. I forget that some of you may be kids and the majority of you are liberal arts majors who took shit like art history because it was easy as fuck and never bothered taking an econ course because they are taught early in the morning and involve math.

In the same spirit of civility: as a mathematics major I think you need some basic logic classes.
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galad2003 wrote:
I'm curious as to why you singled McDonald's out? What about Burger King or Wendy's? Everything creates waste. I just finished a box of cereal, it had a plastic bag inside and he cardboard box. So why should McDonald's pay a tax but the cereal maker not? I assume you meant to tax anything that produces waste and this is not just another McDonald's is evil thread. So in effect you just created a tax on everything. Good job.

How would we administer this tax? Is it just a tax on things with waste or are we specifically taxing the packaging? How would we even measure that?

You see, companies have an incentive to reduce packaging and waste as it decreases costs and maximizes profits. If they can save 1 penny per hamburger times however many hamburgers they sell well that is a lot of extra profit. They put just enough packing in their products to protect the product, comply with health rules and make it marketable/appetizing. So the free market encourages companies to save money.

A tax decreases market transactions. If you look at a supply and demand curve where supply and demand meet that is where a company should price their product. However a tax will raise the price and cause a decrease in sales, the consumer pays some part of the tax, the business pays another. We put up with this because most sane people (not libertarians)recognize that we do need some sort of government and we have to pay for it somehow. Knowing that taxes reduces sales, we have decided it is a good way to discourage bad behaviors such as smoking and drinking.

Further reading: http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1/microecon...

However, is producing package waste a bad thing? What is your goal in reducing package waste? Like I said above the packaging is created for a reason, in the case of McDonald's it would ruin the meal if they just threw it in a bag with no wrappers on the burger and fries, it would be unappealing to the consumer and possibly be against some sort of health regulations (like if they didn't put it in a bag and just handed you a burger over the counter). Plus keep in mind all this paper and cardboard can be recycled.

So in conclusion, A tax is unnecessary, it would pass a financial burden on to the consumer and producer, hard too administer and ultimately not reduce waste.

Personally I would just encourage people to recycle more and have the businesses put a recycle bin in the restaurants. Or better yet just don't buy crap you don't need. Always the best way to reduce waste.

** I tried to answer this post civilly and intelligently. I forget that some of you may be kids and the majority of you are liberal arts majors who took shit like art history because it was easy as fuck and never bothered taking an econ course because they are taught early in the morning and involve math.


If you're going to make a point about how you're trying to be civil and intelligent, don't follow it up by insulting everyone. Also, if you're going to be patronizing about how people don't understand economics you might want to make sure that you yourself aren't missing fairly simple concepts or oversimplifying what you talk about.

The problem with assuming that the supply and demand curves capture everything we need to know about optimum pricing is externalities -- and pollution is a classic externality. Taxes and regulations that address externalities aren't in conflict with economic ideas of efficient use of resources.

A more subtle consideration is a type of market failure that I sometimes call soft collusion. We often assume that value-creating innovations will, if identified, be carried out -- but firms only have an incentive to do so if they are able to capture that value. If competitors will follow quickly, reaching a new equilibrium, it may not be in any company's interest to enact the change. Thus, even if consumers would appreciate less wasteful packaging and would pay for it (i.e. they would switch among fast food companies if one had significantly less wasteful packaging), the incentive for the companies to initiate the change may be much less if the end-state is likely to be that they get not competitive advantage as a result.

In the case of McDonalds ditching its styrofoam "clamshell" containers, it took a mix of regulatory and consumer pressure. Major cities were enacting bans, which, combined with consumer activism, pushed McDonalds into finding a new solution.

Another consideration is that products aren't static. McDonald's shift to recycled fibre for paper products (packaging as well as napkins) had a big impact on the development of the recycled paper products industry. I get leery about government intervention of this sort but it's still clear that examples like this exist where positive externalities were created as a result of regulation pushing companies into more sustainable directions that then led to new sustainability innovations off of that initial investment.
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General_Norris wrote:
If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.


Personally, if the pollution problem is egregious enough, I don't have a problem with unexpected repercussions. I dislike the idea that nothing can be done unless we can guarantee that no one will lose their jobs or McDonalds shareholders won't lose any value.
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aiabx wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
If you have ever been to McDonalds, you'll have noticed that they produce an incredible amount of waste in paper and plastic. All of it single use containers, wrappers and propaganda slips.

Of course, McDonalds does this for economical reasons, it's cheaper to waste than to use a dishwater.

Now, the quesstion is: How can you combat this without having unexpected repercussions?

- Can you simply raise the waste taxes of all restaurants?
- Can you simply legislate that all food to be consumed in that same local must be served in a plate?

Wonder what you think of this.


Personally, if the pollution problem is egregious enough, I don't have a problem with unexpected repercussions. I dislike the idea that nothing can be done unless we can guarantee that no one will lose their jobs or McDonalds shareholders won't lose any value.


And there you have it folks - the modern liberal/progressive concept of "compassion".

Who cares if it's actually harmful waste? Who cares if the waste is biodegradable? Who cares if people will suffer? Lose their jobs? None of that matters because any price is worth this guy, and his ilk, having the smug satisfaction of knowing that what they disapprove of isn't available for anybody. After all, they have theirs, fuck you people who might actually need a job or a cheap meal.

The up side to this? His opinion is shit and the rest of the world knows it. Even stupid people know that heating water, washing dishes, disposing of the contaminated water and detergents is ultimately more costly in terms of the environment (water and energy waste) than using super cheap biodegradable recycled paper.
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General_Norris wrote:


Wonder what you think of this.


or not eat there

the power of the consumer is much more powerful than trying to start rule changes, or even voting

be a smarter consumer
 
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slatersteven wrote:
A tax will just be passed on to consumers.
As to making all food served on plates, well unless you word it well that will just be paper plates.

A tax break might be a better idea, if you produce less waster you pay less local tax.


This is not always true. It's one of those propaganafacts.

For example, if the tax would cause mcdonalds to raise the prices from $8 to $10 per meal while sit down restaurants (which have less waste) were holding their prices at $12 per meal, then some people would switch over. Also other fast food restaurants might institute plans which reduced waste to avoid the tax and hold their prices at $8. Which would force mcdonalds to not raise prices as much and lower their profits or the money they had for salary.
 
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