Why do over a quarter of French people throw rubbish out their car window?

Why do over a quarter of French people throw rubbish out their car window?
Photo: Adrian DENNIS / AFP.
Results of a recent survey show that people in France are much less environmentally friendly when heading off on holiday. Every day, 25 tons of rubbish are collected along the country's motorways.

With the French in the middle of their grandes vacances highway workers are facing a difficult few weeks.

That’s because over one in four people in France (28 percent) have admitted to throwing rubbish out their car window, according to results of the the seventh edition of an annual survey from Ipsos for the Fondation Vinci Autoroutes.

 Although the positive news is that represents a fall of two percentage points compared to the previous year.

The Fondation Vinci Autoroutes launched a tongue-in-cheek awareness campaign on Friday, claiming, “In France, one in four drivers suffers from littermania” or jettomanie in French.

Perhaps the figure should not come as a surprise – according to the same study, 40 percent of people in France admitted to littering in the street.

The study claims that French people suffer from complacency during the summer holidays.

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“Although recycling is one of the most common environmentally friendly actions, French people are less exemplary when they’re away from home,” the foundation wrote in a press release. 72 percent of people said they always recycled at home, while only 58 percent maintained the habit on holiday.

Throwing cigarette butts out the car window is a particularly pernicious practice. Earlier this month, a forest fire ravaged 850 hectares (2,100 acres) of woodland in the Aude département in the south of France. Local authorities said it was “unfortunately very likely it was a cigarette butt” that caused the fire, which began near the A61 motorway.

The French government has recently taken steps to combat the increase in littering linked to the Covid pandemic, such as people dropping face masks on the ground. Last year, the fine for littering increased from €65 to €135.

If you spot a case of fly-tipping, you should contact your local mairie (town hall). The environmental group Association France Nature Environnement also has a mobile app called “Sentinelles de la Nature” (“Nature Guardians”), which allows residents to highlight rubbish that has been dumped in natural areas, and the association will contact the authorities.


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  1. Visit the Dordogne, we no longer have a house waste collection, all waste including recycling has to be taken to bins. This is okay if a/ you have transportation to get there, b/ if the bins aren’t already full so you can’t deposit your waste. I totally agree with recycling but to go from 2 house collections a week to only being able to deposit 2 black bin waste every month is a total madness. Also how do campervan travelers get rid of their waste. They call this progress, all I can see is rat infestations and more fly tipping

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