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Berlin SPD floats 'fast-food trash tax'

Published: 31 Oct 2012 14:40 GMT+01:00

"We're considering it," Berlin's Social Democrat Environment Minister Michael Müller told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper. His party is the leading coalition partner with the conservative Christian Democratic Union ruling the city state.

"The special fee would mean those who cause the litter, like the operators of coffee shops and consumers would pay the cleaning costs," said Michael Arndt, chairman of the SPD's local branch, which made the proposal. The money would be directed straight to Berlin's state rubbish removal service, the BSR.

Arndt also said that discounts for customers who bring their own cups to coffee shops would be a possibility. "What we definitely don't want is for the bins on the streets to get bigger and bigger, because the BSR's bins keep overflowing," he said.

The proposal has been greeted by the BSR. "If such a fee were allowed, it would be a good opportunity to keep congested areas clean," BSR spokesman Thomas Klöckner told the Berliner Morgenpost.

But the proposal might not be so easy to impose. Several Berlin district councils have tried to impose some kind of local "trash tax" in the past, only to be thwarted by the courts, who ruled that any such fee would have to benefit those paying it.

A similar scheme is being considered in Munich and a packaging tax was successfully imposed on fast food stands in the central German town of Kassel in the mid-1990s, imposing an extra fee on each paper plate and plastic fork. Around 50 other towns then followed Kassel's example, until the fee was overturned in the courts in 1998.

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Your comments about this article

15:38 October 31, 2012 by Bulldawg82
Fast food trash is a plague in every country. Not sure what the solution is, but taxing it won't stop it. But, we all know that this is not the point of if a fast food trash tax . . . an opportunity for increased revenue is the real motivation. Governments have become like businesses in that they are always looking for ways to squeeze money from people for itself.
16:36 October 31, 2012 by The-ex-pat
As usual in Germany, we have a problem, so a tax will solve it...............
18:28 October 31, 2012 by karldehm
Sounds like a great idea. Should have had one years ago. Those who eat junk should pay a garbage tax.
18:50 October 31, 2012 by catjones
karldehm.....I agree. And those who buy packaged goods from the grocery stores should be taxed as well, plus vending machines, gas stations and I saw a guy buy a paper wrapped brat at the train station: tax him too. They should also add a waste tax to cigarettes because they too are tossed to the ground.
23:22 October 31, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
And tax the Finanzamt for all that needless paperwork they make us fill out. Tax the arbeitsamt and job centre for all the needless post they spam us and filling up our homes with files etc etc.
23:24 October 31, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Since some people eat their way into the hospital, this seems fair.
02:50 November 1, 2012 by catjones
ovalle3.14...yeah and all the germans ate healthy before fast food....
08:57 November 1, 2012 by Englishted
What about that fast food that come prepacked in it's skin and is not unhealthy ,with the added bonus that the wrapping can provide hours of slapstick fun .

So go bananas .
11:55 November 2, 2012 by raandy
I like the part where the BSR is in favor. surprise, surprise.

Not the way to solve the problem, start with the companies that distribute all this paper and plastic, make them pay,they are making a profit where the user is preparing for winter, hibernation.
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