Fight against waste: Ministers plead for unpunished containers

fight against waste
Ministers advocate impunity for containers

On average, 78 kilograms of food waste are generated per capita and year in Germany. Buschmann and Özdemir demand that anyone who takes them out of garbage cans should no longer be prosecuted in the future. This is how waste should be tackled.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir are campaigning for a change in favor of people who still get edible food out of waste containers. In a joint letter to the justice ministers and senators of the federal states, the two federal ministers advocate supporting a proposal by the state of Hamburg from 2021.

This provides for a change in the guidelines for criminal and fine proceedings, which could be decided by the federal states without a change in the law at federal level. According to this, the so-called container should only be punished if there is a trespassing, “which goes beyond overcoming a physical obstacle without developing a significant effort or at the same time fulfills the offense of property damage”.

In other words, if you climb over a low wall to get to the supermarket’s dumpster, you shouldn’t be prosecuted. On the other hand, anyone who breaks open and damages a gate in search of food that can still be eaten would still have to expect a penalty. “If people take discarded food home with them without committing damage to property or trespassing, then in my opinion there is no longer any need to be prosecuted,” said Buschmann.

Özdemir said the changes to the guidelines on procedural law could be one of many building blocks in the fight against food waste – “the federal states can also make a concrete contribution here”. According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, every consumer in Germany throws away an average of 78 kilograms a year. That’s 59 percent of food waste. According to this, seven percent of food waste is generated in retail, for example due to large order quantities that are not sold in full.

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