Fast food places responsible for litter????

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MarkHastings, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Mark,

    What do you suggest? Litter exists. The city is responsible for cleaning up the litter. The money to support this effort must come from somewhere. The alternative would be to pay for such efforts with a general tax increase (such as sales tax). Increasing a general tax may not be a bad idea, since everyone benefits from a clean litter-free environment, but it looks like the City of Oakland chose to apply the principle of cause and effect: the prevalence of cheap, low-quality fast food and snacks results in 40% of the city's litter (according to the figures cited). To make an analogy, driving causes wear and tear on the roads. Therefore, we tax gasoline to pay for road maintenance.

    Besides, there is a secondary, incidental benefit to this policy -- if fast food and snacks are more expensive, then poor people and kids won't eat as much of it, and won't burden our health care system as much when they get older.
     
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The way I see it is, the Fast Food places are going to offset that tax by raising prices. Since I don't litter, why should I have to be responsible for someone else's crime?

    And my other thing is, if they are charging the fast food places for cleanup (which will get passed along to the consumer) then won't that seem like a free ticket to litter (to some people)? I can see it now: "Hey, I'm paying for this, so I should be allowed to litter!"

    I mean, if I knew that my local McDonald's was charging that tax back to the consumer, maybe I'd think again when deciding not to throw my cup out the window.

    You wanna charge me for littering (that I don't do), well then I may as well start littering because I'm paying for that service. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Or what about the disgruntled franchise owner who has to pay for his dumpsters. What if he starts thinking: "I'm paying for garbage removal and I'm also paying for littering, so why not dump our garbage (that doesn't fit in the dumpsters) in the street? I mean, why pay for an additional dumpster when I can use the service that I'm already paying for?" [​IMG]

    Ok, maybe that's a bit TOO hypothectical, but the point is that it seems like it's just going to upset a lot of people. But that makes sense because the more gas you buy, the more taxes you pay, and that equates to more miles you drive. The above analogy would be like taxing the gas stations for wear and tear on the roads. Why are they responsible? [​IMG] ?????

    And also, driving on the roads does cause wear and tear on the roads. Anyone who drives on the road is guilty of this, BUT not everyone who eats at a fast food place is guilty of littering.

    If they DID put out this tax (and the restaurants charged this back to the customer), then it should be only fair that every customer be allowed to litter, otherwise, it's unfair.


    p.s. I do realize that not everyone who buys gas, drives on the roads (i.e. Lawn mowers, etc.) but the percentage of people who buy gas (that don't drive on the roads) is probably FAR less than those who buy fast food and don't litter.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    No, the cities that approved the building permits should be responsible since if they didn't grant them or variances, then these places wouldn't be there in the first place.
     
  5. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    OK, I'll accept that for purposes of this argument: the cities are responsible. Therefore, the city should pay for cleanup. Where does the city get its money? Local taxes. [​IMG]
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Ok, then what if they passed a law that said: "If anyone fails to pay their Federal taxes, the state will raise taxes to help pay the government for the amount that's owed."?

    Now what if a company failed to pay their taxes and to help pay for them, your state asked you for $3.65 that year - I'm sure you can afford that, but why should you have to pay one cent for this???


    I understand what your saying, but it just seems like such a bizarre thing to do. Charging others to clean up someone elses crime???
     
  7. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    I'm sure we already do just that in many ways. Vandalism is a crime, the city pays to clean things up, we pay the city back when we pay our taxes.

    I'm sure that there are many things we are paying for. At least it wouldn't surprise me.

    As for the poor people eating at McD's...
    At a local high school that my Nephew goes to all the "well off" kids walk to McD's for lunch. The poor kids eat their lunch or nothing at all.
     
  8. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Mark,


    You're not paying the penalty for someone else's crime, you're just paying to clean it up afterwards. The Oakland business community suggested enforcing existing laws as an alternative to this tax, and I agree that the litter laws should be enforced. But increasing enforcement means more cops on the street to write tickets, and more judges on the bench to deal with them. This also would have to be paid for out of local taxes. It looks like Oakland is engaging in an experiment to find the most practical, cost-effective solution, and I am eager to see the results of this experiment.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Aren't they already spending money to clean the streets or is it a question of they need to spend even more money because they need to do it more frequently? My problem with some of this thinking is what happens if the amount of littering were to actually decrease? Unlikely, but what if? Does the city roll back the tax? What happens when someone in the city gov't says, all these busisnesses are causing people to use the roads more and that means more road work. Why not tax the businesses because they result in more commuter miles? Certainly the city can actually cut some stupid ass program they've got to come up with the money. Must be a little pork in that old budget.
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The problem I have is that it's a SPECIFIC tax, targeting a SPECIFIC business. These businesses ARE being penalized for someone else's crime. They are being forced into paying taxes to clean up the crime. That (IMO) is what being penalized is.

    As is the case of the other taxes, they are at least distributed over the entire community. But this tax is being trageted to a specific business. If you want to propose a generic "litter" tax to the entire community, that's fine (I guess I can somehow get past that), but to target fast food businesses...that seems like penalizing them.

    Let's take the tax that helps repair streets...What if the state said "Due to the increase of street damage, caused by the large size of SUV's, we are taxing ALL Ford owners because we found that Ford Explorer's are the worst cause of road damage."

    Now would it be fair if you owned a Ford escort? Is it fair that you are being forced to pay a tax and your friend (who owns a Honda Accord) doesn't have to pay that tax?

    And what if you were out buying a small Ford (i.e. Non-SUV)? Even if it were a miniscule fee, would you be comfortable knowing that there was a line item on your bill of sale that stated "SUV Road Damage Tax"? Ugh, that would irk the crap out of me! especially knowing that this charge ONLY shows up on Ford purchases.
     
  11. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    I don't really have a problem with the tax (and I don't litter either and get take out at Taco Bell about three times a week) but I would rather have harsher penalties for the actual litterers (bring back the stocks). In Seattle, part of the litter problem is that the city does not pick up the garbage from bust stops and other public places enough. A busy bus stop where thousands of people a day want to get rid of their empty paper coffee cups or McBreakfast Sandwich wrappers wind up filling up the can before the end of morning rush hour and throw their trash onto the overflowing pile.

    BTW, if you read the article, it said that the majority of fast food places would be taxed 63 cents a day. That is almost nothing per person for a fast food place. There is nothing to pass on to the consumer.
     
  12. Nathan A

    Nathan A Second Unit

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    We all pay for the police force that deals with all sorts of crimes that we don't commit. Many people are even happy to pay a little more to have a few extra cops patrolling the beat to help keep our neighborhoods safe. Why? Because crime exists. I'd certainly rather crime not exist and not have to pay for police, but that's not the case.

    Litter too exists, and someone has to clean it up. The fast food restaurants certainly aren't going to pay for it. But if they are the source of litter, why not make them pay for it? It may not be entirely fair (after all, the actual restaurants aren't, or at least shouldn't be, littering), but I can't think of a better solution. We can't catch the litterers in the act every time.

    Also, the restaurants are being taxed, not the consumer. The restaurants may choose to increase prices to cover these additional taxes that they have to pay, but the consumer is not the one being taxed. If the restaurant passes the cost on to you, then don't eat there. Or continue to eat there because it's not a big deal. It's up to you, whatever your take on the matter.
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    That's what the article is suggesting and I'm sorry, but I just find something very wrong about that. I can't get past the thought of blamming them for the litter. [​IMG]

    They didn't sell you litter...they didn't create the litter. The moment it becomes litter, is when it leaves the persons hand (who threw it out).

    I mean, with that logic, can anyone ever be charged with littering? If I throw a McDonald's cup out my car window and a cop stops me, can I say that it's not mine, it came from McDonald's, so I'm not responsible?

    Talk about BIZARRE! If I get caught littering, it's MY fault, but if I DON'T get caught littering, it's McDonald's fault. [​IMG]

    My head just exploded. [​IMG]
     
  14. Nathan A

    Nathan A Second Unit

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    No. If you litter, it's your fault, period. But since we can't catch you every time, we have to find someone to pay for the times we don't catch you. Again, who do we charge? Our best solution seems to be those that most immediately allow people to litter.

    If anyone has a better solution, I'd sincerely like to hear it. Eh, we could just have a general increase in taxes (as was mentioned by someone earlier), but I don't see much harm in big companies paying a little to help keep the streets clean. At the very least, I think they're more culpable than the general public, some of whom don't eat any fast food whatsoever.
     
  15. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Mark,

    According to the article you linked to in your original post, 20% of urban litter is fast food packaging, and another 20% is snack food packaging (chips, candy). If those figures are accurate, then these 2 industries are placing an undue burden on our cities' Public Utilities Departments. Would it be more fair to tax everybody, rather than to tax the 2 industries that produce the biggest share of litter? Perhaps. Oakland is the first city to try this approach. Consider it an experiment.

    Also, your Ford analogy is not valid. That would be like Oakland taxing McDonalds in order to clean up litter that originated at Burger King, which is not what is happening in this case.
     
  16. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Oh, come on, we're living in the 21st century - fast food places should just put a barcode on the wrapping paper, and a reader by the trash cans... you get a refund applied to your credit card when you throw the trash away. [​IMG]
     
  17. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    Well, actually, in Seattle, a local KFC was caught dumping their trash on another street to pay less garbage fees to the city. They didn't even dump the trash in someone else's dumpster, they just left the bags on the side of the road in a residential neighborhood). I doubt they are the only fast food restaurant that ever tried that.
     
  18. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I can't remember the exact details, but I also recall something like that happening here in CT.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Or something similar to the bottle deposit law in some states. You pay an extra fee when you purchase the full bottle, then get that money back when you return the empty one. The fast food places could switch from completely disposable paper packaging to some sort of plastic cups and containers that could be washed and reused.
     
  20. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Bingo!
    I like that idea.

    Just as long as you can go to a different counter for the drop-off.[​IMG]
     

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