Single use plastics and Gig economy updates

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I have belatedly added the HM Treasury consultation on tackling single use plastics via charges or taxation to Britishdestinations.net:   https://britishdestinations.net/consultation-responses/open-consultations/tackling-the-plastic-problem-using-the-tax-system-or-charges-to-address-single-use-plastic-waste-closing-18-may-2018/

Issued in March and closing 18 May it canvasses views and on a range of possible measures but specifically excludes deposit schemes on drinks containers, the implementation of which is the subject of a separate consultation to follow, and the so-called “Latte Tax” and measures designed to reduce usage and improve recycling, of “paper cups”, again which will be the subject of further consultation.

On the one hand given the growing reliance on single use items within the visitor economy and, on the other, the undeniable importance to place making of cost efficient, effective waste collection and management it is one of those many non-mainstream tourism areas that shouldn’t be ignored by tourism practitioners.  That said having removed the deposit schemes and paper cups issue from the immediate debate there may be far less for destination managers to do immediately, other than to ensure those directly responsible for waste management in the locality are aware of and responding to the consultation.

For my part, unless I am given any substantive comment from members, I intend to major on HMT putting more emphasis in their deliberations in to understanding and then influencing the consumer behaviour that is driving the problems.  In particular more emphasis on addressing, “life on the go” and “the takeaway society”.  To my mind if it was financially as or more beneficial to sit and drink your coffee from a proper cup or have your sandwich off a plate than out of paper cup and off a card and plastic container then you might begin to start to reduce the growing demand for disposable containers and packaging.

That might involve looking at the wider tax and business cost base rather than just focusing on taxing plastic at the point of manufacture or at the point of sale to the public.   In leisure destinations at least, we should be aiming to ensure sitting and enjoying the experience, using quality reusable items returns to being the norm.  We are not simply all in danger of rushing about drinking out of paper cups and plastic bottles but increasing people are growing to accept sitting in situ and drinking out of them as being the norm.  That may have implications for the waste stream but far more worryingly also for the quality of the experience and of the quality of places we jointly endeavour to manage and maintain.

In another area of strategic policy interest, Brighton and Hove are the latest City to move to exclude Uber. It’s one of a number of actions across a raft of new technologies and media that combined may now serve to put pressure on Westminster Government to reconsider their somewhat Laissez-faire attitude towards emerging disruptive technologies and new business practices, including with them the sharing economy and accommodation provision.

I have added a new Gig economy page to reflect member’s interest in Gig economy issues, in addition to the existing sharing economy page.  It includes an article on Brighton and Hove’s dispute with Uber:  https://britishdestinations.net/tourism-the-sharing-economy-and-its-wider-implications/gig-economy/ 

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