Throwing out trash from the car window: that’s how high the penalty is


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Open the car window and just throw out trash: More and more rubbish ends up on Germany’s roadsides and on the floor of rest stops. The German federal states therefore issue some hefty fines.

More and more people are becoming aware of environmental damage and climate change. And at the same time the mountains of rubbish are growing higher and higher along our streets and highways. Laziness and indifference are too great to throw away snack packaging and coke cans at home. Mostly for 18 to 30 year olds, by the way. This was the result of a study of various cities that want to tackle the problem.

This garbage sometimes takes an extremely long time to rot.

  • Handkerchief: four weeks
  • Paper bag: six weeks
  • Cigarette filters: ten to 15 years
  • Plastic bag: 20 years
  • Coffee-to-go cups: 50 years
  • Plastic bottle and beverage can: several hundred years

And in the meantime, it is poisoning the environment: the nicotine of a cigarette butt can kill fish if it is dissolved in a liter of water.

Garbage disposal costs many millions

The extent of the problem shows an investigation by the ADAC: According to only 50 rest areas in North Rhine-Westphalia, 10,000 tons of waste per year were generated. In addition to the environmental problems, this also causes enormous costs: the TU Darmstadt calculated 9,000 euros per kilometer of the motorway in 2014.

With around 13,000 kilometers of autobahn in Germany, that adds up to well over 100 million euros. It can be assumed that in the meantime, along with the mountains of rubbish, so have the costs.

Because despite all efforts and all clarification, the garbage is increasing more and more. That is why there are fines that vary depending on the federal state. Because environmental and nature conservation law are a matter of the Länder. In some countries, fines start at just ten euros, and the other way around, the maximum in Hamburg is 1,000 euros.

Avoiding Garbage: You Can Do It

Basically, of course, it’s very simple: Rubbish belongs in the bin and not on the street. In order not to be tempted in the first place, there are some tips from the ADAC:

  • Use your own cups for your coffee to go. Many sellers even offer a small discount for this.
  • Open sandwiches, fruit and vegetables are not just the healthier snack during breaks. They also generate less waste than candy bars and other convenience foods.
  • Use fresh storage boxes and reusable packaging instead of plastic or aluminum foil.
  • During the journey, leftovers end up in the garbage bag or a vehicle garbage can instead of in the ditch.
  • At the destination or during a break, you can dispose of the rubbish where it belongs.


Michelle Halterman
Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.


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