Cleaning up and disposing of cigarette butts, plastic cups and other single-use plastic products left in parks and streets cost German cities and communities around €700 million annually, the German environment ministry said today.
The findings were released in a study by the VKU, the German association of local utilities, which for the first time assessed waste management and cleanup costs for various types of litter. Disposing of cigarette butts costs around €225 million, and take-away plastic cups cost around €120 million a year.
“It’s costing us all a lot of money because at the moment it’s only the local authorities which are bearing the cleanup costs in parks and streets and disposing of the litter. I find it only fair that, in future, the burden of cleaning and disposing of the waste will be taken on more by the polluters,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told reporters in Berlin today.
According to the study, single-use plastic products, cigarette butts and packaging make up more than 20 percent of the total waste volume on streets, parks and bins.
Schulze also called for more cleaning personnel, new equipment and additional waste bins and ashtrays to tackle the challenge.
Under the EU’s single-use plastic rules, plastic producers are meant to contribute financially to the cleanup and disposal costs for certain litter. An EU ban on some single-use plastic products like plastic plates, straws and foam cups will go into effect next year.
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