I read a good bit each morning. Some items are worthless in nature but cause you to sit and ponder. So it is with this topic.....Berlin (the city itself) will sell around 170 million "to-go" coffee cups each year.
With a population of 3.5 million residents, and around 28 million guests who stay at least one night.....someone actually sat down and counted up coffee cup usage.
Why does this matter? Normally....it wouldn't be worth discussing.
The Green enthusiasts pondered upon this and the terrible waste of these 170 million papercups going into the trash bothered them.
So, they will have this open forum on 8 Feb with coffee house owners and managers.....to discuss ways to ease the 170 million papercups being thrown away.
First, they want the coffee houses to volunteer and try to ease the customers away from this terrible sin of throwing papercups away.
Starbucks and most of the big-name companies operating coffee shops in Berlin will stand and just admit that they already sell real mugs and coffee cups to their customers....at a discount rate. They've been doing this for several years.
What the Green enthusiasts want to do if matters can't change.....is invent a tax.
I know.....you almost spilled coffee on yourself when I mentioned the possible coffee cup tax.
The general suggestion is that there would be a Berlin city tax of 20-cents on each papercup of coffee sold.....which would go into a Green pot of money.
What would the city do with this money? Let's say that the people didn't change any habits and the 170 million coffee cups had the tax....it'd amount to a 34 million Euro pot of money. I naturally read through as many sources of news on the topic and came to this one interesting detail missing. No one asked the Green enthusiasts what the money would be spent on. Not one single detail.
Typically, tax collected money goes into one massive city pot, and I suspect that the city managers would be very eager to collect 34 million Euro on a simple coffee cup tax. Legal? Most people think that German law allows for this.
I pondered upon this and came to this realization.
Let's say the law goes into effect and a tax is now effective. If you typically bought fifteen cups of coffee to go each month.....your tax would amount to 3 Euro. Per year, 36 Euro.
But most people are smart.
So, they'd go and order this big box of coffee papercups via Amazon, and it'd arrive at your apartment. Each morning, you'd retrieve one papercup out of the box and walk by the coffee shop to buy your coffee....handing your papercup from home and walking out with it.
Smart people would start to make customized papercups with your logo......your name.....some picture of a cat....slogan-type cups....etc.
The coffee shop would have a discounted rate for this type of buyer because there's no tax on the guy and no cup provided by coffee shop.
As months would roll by....more people would do this.
The Green people would pat themselves on the back because coffee shops would report the normal yearly average of 170 million papercups have now dwindled down 20 million papercups. Success. The Greens will say they did a wonderful thing for Berlin.
Oddly, the garbage guys will note one afternoon for the news people.....there's no cut in papercups appearing in trashcans around the city. It's the same number as before.
Great honor will be bestowed to the Green folks for reshaping and fixing a terrible problem facing the fine city of Berlin. Tax revenue will increase.....which will make the city managers happy. And people will continue drinking via their papercups with the feeling of happiness.....mostly through fine coffee and the effect of screwing the government out of tax revenue money. It's rare that Germans feel happy, but this will be one such occasion.
I should note....my trust in the papercup number mentioned by the news folks? Well, I just don't have confidence that the 170 million number is right. Personally, I'd take a guess that it's five times that number and some folks aren't being honest on the numbers business.