Municipalities could in future be relieved of the costs of disposing of waste in parks and streets. "It is high time that the high municipal cleaning costs caused by single-use plastic products are no longer passed on to the general public of tax and fee payers, but are imposed on the manufacturers," said Patrick Hasenkamp, Vice President of the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU).
According to a draft law, companies that manufacture single-use plastic products such as to-go cups, lightweight carrier bags, wet wipes, balloons and tobacco filters will in future pay a so-called plastic levy as a contribution against environmental pollution. For the first time in 2025, municipalities are to receive reimbursement from this fund for the costs they incur as a result of cleaning for the previous year. This Thursday, the draft law is then to be voted on in the Bundestag.
From cigarette butts to to-go cups
According to the VKU, cities and municipalities in Germany pay hundreds of millions of euros a year to clear parks and streets of cigarette butts, to-go cups and other single-use plastic products and to empty public waste bins. "In the future, chewing gum, pizza boxes or aluminum trays should also be included in the manufacturer financing of municipal cleaning services," said Hasenkamp, who is also the head of the waste management company in Münster.
The German Association of Cities also called for the project to be expanded. "The current plans for the littering fund are a good start. But they don't go far enough," said Managing Director Helmut Dedy of the editorial network Germany (RND). "Whether the disposable waste is made of plastic, cardboard or aluminum makes no difference to the effort and costs of cleaning."
According to the German Association of Cities, the fund should therefore be expanded to include more disposable products and more materials. Littering means the careless leaving of rubbish in the environment.