The Eco-Taxes Set to Reshape the Economy (and your ski holiday)

Things have changed a little since we last spoke.

You’ve probably heard me banging the drum for making small changes on the Clean Mountain Living Podcast.

Well, our whole lives have been turned upside down. I don’t know one single person whose life hasn’t dramatically changed in 2020.

The future is more unknown than we’ve seen in recent history.

International travel has ground to a halt, millions of businesses have shut across the globe, major corporations are now turning their attentions to the greater good. 

Heck, even Formula 1 teams are making ventilators.

That’s right, a sport usually polluting the atmosphere, is now helping people to breathe.

Irony.

Plus this Coronavirus pandemic is instantly leading to a ‘huge drop in air pollution.’

So perhaps this presents an opportunity for global change, quicker than we could ever imagine.

I’m not going to predict the future for you here, but while the world is focused on social distancing, new laws are still being announced that could be the catalyst for ensuring a change in our economy. (And our ski holidays… couldn’t go too long without discussing skiing could we…) 

Do you know about the 20% Plastic Tax?

In March the UK government announced plans to impose a £200 per ton tax on virgin plastics. The new regulation specifically applies to plastic packaging not containing at least 30% recycled plastic.

This applies to all packaging manufactured in or imported to the UK from April 2022. 

“From April 2022, we will charge manufacturers and importers £200 per tonne on packaging made of less than 30% recycled plastic.

That will increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by 40% – equal to carbon savings of nearly 200,000 tonnes.” explains Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

This is good news and plastic packaging continues to be a major fight for One Tree at a Time and it’s partnered businesses.

So what effect will the UK’s plastic tax have on the ski industry across Europe?

Well, as the plastic tax is only set to be UK regulation it will be interesting to see how the major ski equipment manufacturers respond.

Plastic packaging waste carries a huge hidden environmental cost to your ski holidays right now. 

The waste from new ski equipment every single winter is eye-wateringly shocking.

From pledged ski shops The Boot Lab and White Storm, we’ve seen first hand the sheer amount of waste packaging accompanying every single piece of equipment.

It baffles us why every single ski boot and ski comes individually wrapped in single-use plastic??

The Boot Lab have already taken their own action, removing over 10,000 single use plastic items from supply chains plus Gavin even makes a point of returning the plastic waste to suppliers.

All this single use material is currently used to deliver a plastic ski boot. Over the winter The Boot Lab collected all this material and returned it to the suppliers.

With new costs being introduced it’s easy to see the start of widespread change in the industry with manufacturers not wanting to use different packaging just for the UK market alone.

The easiest step to avoid being hit by the new plastic tax is simply to reduce (hallelujah) the vast amount of unnecessary packaging on products. 

Any packaging still used is likely to be made from recycled plastics not only for the UK imports but across Europe.

It’s a small, but important step towards a circular economy.

All these single use items have now found their way back into the economy. By returning these products we’re closing the loop and feeding into a circular economy.

Pressure Grows for Frequent Flyer Levy 

Environmental groups continue to put pressure on governments and airlines to introduce taxes for frequent flyers rather than rewards.

Traditionally, frequent flyers have been rewarded with perks, reduced rates and air-miles. But in a world where we should be reducing our air travel, could this be about to change?

A report from the Committee on Climate Change recommends airline loyalty schemes to start levying taxes on extra flights.

Sure, the airlines and passengers won’t like it but 15% of the UK’s population account for 70% of flights.

That means 85% of people won’t be penalized for their irregular flights and individuals flying regularly can likely afford the added charges.

For your ski trip to the Alps, these levies would be another reason to take up train travel. 

People may choose to use their ‘flight allowance’ on summer holidays which usually have a longer haul destination, leaving train travel as the cheapest option for ski trips.

Options like the snow train are growing in popularity with more and more people enjoying the distinct benefits and lower environmental impacts.

In fact, Europeans increasingly pick train travel for their holidays. In 2019, some ski destination trains reported a 20% increase in ticket sales while similar flight routes reduced by 10%.

It’s no secret the airlines are under pressure from the public’s buying choices and they know it.

It’s why EasyJet is scrambling to introduce net-zero carbon flights.

Now with virtually all air travel suspended in 2020, we’re already seeing the death of regional airlines whose margins have been squeezed to nothing. Small margins driven by our linear, race to the bottom economy.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see some major providers begin to struggle very quickly.

At One Tree we regularly discuss the small changes that can have huge effects across an industry over time. What we didn’t foresee was how quickly the world could change in 2020.

The world has stopped. It’s given everyone time to slow down and reflect on the ‘essentials’ of life.

We’ve all been stripped back to what is ‘essential’, to reduce our life to what we really need. 

And that’s the biggest step to living more sustain-ably.

2020 is already a decade reshaping our economy.

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