Unanticipated consequences from BREXIT to climate change

Who would have thought that BREXIT or perhaps Covid 19 could have such an effect. I try to actually shop in stores to ensure there is competition to Amazon and Alibaba. However, from time to time I will purchase something online or get something from Ebay.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I did purchase something from Ebay to have to pay some customs charges. It did not take long to realize that this is probably to be expected as the UK has left the European Union – no more free ride I guess. The customs fees were actually not so amazing 2.28 EUR for purchasing an item valued at 10 GBP or about 12 Euros.

Rules are rules and I suppose that the the EU is trying to protect itself from people cleaning out their basement and selling it abroad. This cost doesn’t really bother me but what does is was the additional 6 EUR Auslagepauschale (storage fee) I was charged. It does rather change some of the economics of purchasing used things from the basements of UK sellers.

Used brass tag10 GBP
Postage3.05 GBP
Customs tax2.28 EUR
Storage fee6.00 EUR
Total24.05 EUR

This might really be a chart that suggests I visit flea markets close to where I live. I wish my car was brand new but as an older car it probably does contribute to greenhouse gases (or pollution if you prefer).

However, apparently the playing field is not quite level. Either Germany or the EU is concerned about commerce and gifts flowing in. This seems to be true for gifts/packages from the United States and from the UK. If other sources are to be believed this is true for quite a number of non-EU countries.

What does not seem to be the case is receiving new items from China. I did actually order a few printed circuit boards from China and if you are in no hurry it is a cost effect way to import project boards.

circuit boards2.00 USD
postage3.90 USD
Storage fee0.00
Total5.39 EUR

It is not clear what the cost to the environment is to ship items from the other side of the world but intuitively it should be greater than something shipped from an EU adjoining country.

It is not often that I do this, but this does pretty much offer an interesting precedent. If you need some thing reasonably small or affordable why reuse / recycle an existing item when you can get a brand new one shipped from China for cheaper.

These two examples are not actually completely comparable but especially now during (essentially) pandemic conditions getting electronics is difficult. I have been forced to purchase items from the US in the past which really didn’t make all that much sense because of the shipping costs, but now with these extra little taxes* and fees it makes more financial sense to take the anti-climate choice.

I guess that either BREXIT, the fear of BREXIT competition or attempts to squeeze extra fees from the postal consumers is creating a situation of unexpected consequences** that seems anti-climate to me.

* Customs tax is not new but recent changes for items starting at 0 EUR instead of 22 EUR along with the stories that gift package (45 EUR or less) also seems to be no longer be exempt. It is possible that this 45 EUR level is being applied inconsistently.

** Who would have thought that Economics class would still be in my head after all these years.

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