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Beer cans, not butts targeted by new litter law

The Local/rm · 22 Jun 2011, 13:41

Published: 22 Jun 2011 13:41 GMT+02:00

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Leaving behind beverage cans, ready meal packaging or disposable grills will cost offenders 800 kronor ($126) while tossing cigarette butts, candy wrappers, chewing gum or discarded bus tickets on the ground will carry no fine, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

Chemicals, such as paint or fire-lighting fluid, both of which could be seen as a threat to the environment, will lead to trial and up to a year in prison.

The levels of the fines for littering offences were determined by the Swedish Prosecutor-General (Riksåklagaren) following the passage of a new law on littering by the Riksdag at the beginning of the month.

“We have looked at other fines and have then tried to determine how potentially dangerous the behaviour is,” said Peter Lundkvist of the Prosecutor-General’s office to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Police believe that the new rules will mean more fines and cleaner cities for Sweden.

“If the place is cleaner it will automatically be a bit safer,” said Rita Hedlund Zwierz, of the Stockholm police to DN earlier this year.

Environment minister Andreas Carlgren said in the spring that the intention of the new law isn’t to make people pay fines but get them to stop littering.

“Anyone going for a stroll on a summer morning near popular parks are often met with frightening amounts of litter in the form of food wrappers, disposable grills and the like,” said Carlgren in a statement in March.

It is already against the law to leave litter in parks and other public places, but up until now the police hasn’t been able to give offenders a ticket at the scene of the crime, a fact that Carlgren thinks will be combatted through the new law.

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“Today it is too difficult to hold offenders accountable but with the change to the law police will be able to fine offenders on the spot,” Carlgren said.

The new law will come into effect on July 10th 2011.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:57 June 22, 2011 by Rick Methven
They should have brought it in a week ago, then they would have made a fortune out of all the youngsters partying in the parks after Studenten. The main City park here looked like a rubbish tip.
15:05 June 22, 2011 by JulieLou40
Why not include cigarette butts? They're the biggest problem!!
15:10 June 22, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
Not only cigarette butts, but chewing gum literally everywhere dotting the sidewalks. Ick.
15:18 June 22, 2011 by NickO.
Sounds great.

Except for the fact that I can, on any given day, spend 30minutes+ walking, trash in hand, without passing a single bin and when you finally do, it's at a bus-stop.
15:40 June 22, 2011 by cutthecrap
A good move, seems to be the only way to educate some people.
15:44 June 22, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
What about the recycling?
16:32 June 22, 2011 by edpe71
The sentiment behind this law is good but I wonder how long it will take before it stops being a punishment and shifts to being a source of revenue for law enforcement? Parking tickets and speeding fines are now considered a source of revenue in some countries rather than a punishment!
18:07 June 22, 2011 by soultraveler3
It's stupid to not include everything in this fine. Beer cans are around but not in the same numbers as other little trash items (candy wrappers, bits of paper etc.) Cigarette butts and snus packets should definitely be included since they're everywhere you look, all the time.

We have plenty of bins here but they always seem to be overflowing.
18:28 June 22, 2011 by Amber Dawn
Snus packets are the worst! It's ridiculous that ALL of this is not included in the fined offenses.
18:36 June 22, 2011 by Mb 65
In the ditch by the side of the road and at the bus stop where we live always has Snus boxes imported beer cans, bottles and anything else people don't want to take with them or in their cars. litter is litter. Sweden is getting dirtier every year.
20:40 June 22, 2011 by Attestupa
When I came to Sweden, I was astonished at how much junk was discarded in the streets. Why, in an otherwise socially responsible country, do people leave beer bottles on those zinc-plated electricity boxes just waiting to be smashed, cardboard coffee buckets, pizza boxes, cigarette packets, paper plates, plastic forks, beer cans certainly (and I don't wish to distinguish between imported or home-brewed brands here), plastic bags (especially Systemsbolaget bags) and even broken umbrellas and towels? Once you achieve a certain level of junk concentration no one cares. It's astonishing that the Swedes themselves, when you mention it to them, don't seem to notice it or perhaps they don't want to acknowledge this in their "environmentally friendly" country. And fallen leaves! The way autumn leaves are dealt with here is to leave them to rot until the next autumn. That's much more environmentally friendly.

Now it's time for a law against spitting in the streets.
21:11 June 22, 2011 by Mb 65
Today i saw a father with 2 small kids spit in the ICA car park, what do you think those kids will do when they grow up. The other month when schools went round picking up litter the parents were up in arms. What better way to teach them not to litter. when i first visited Sweden years ago Swedes were always saying how dirty the streets were in the UK. The UK has 64 million people and Sweden 9.3 if Sweden ever got to 64 million you would not be able to move for the rubbish. Swedes are all for recycling, wind farms, and Ethanol fuel. they are clearing rain forest to plant trees for Palm oil to make it. How environmentally friendly is that. i have a neighbor who does all the things for the environment, no reklam. yet he has 2 cars and a boat but he doesn't see that as being unfriendly because it suits him.
22:28 June 22, 2011 by AirForceGuy
Stupid is as stupid does.... these are elected officials who make these rules.
22:46 June 22, 2011 by jamesblish
Seeing as people who barbecue and get drunk never break the law, this is probably going to be a great success.
13:39 June 23, 2011 by soultraveler3
Mb 65, you made another good point.

I guess spitting isn't technically litter, but I've seen more people spitting all over the ground here than in any other country I've been it and they do it all the time. It's disgusting and that some of them use loose snus makes it all the worse.

I don't even sit in the grass in public parks without those special picnic blankets (the ones with the plastic, washable liner on one side) because of all the nastiness. It's so gross.

You're also right in saying that if Sweden had 64 million people like the UK, we'd be up to our armpits in trash. :/
16:24 June 23, 2011 by karex
As with most things done by politicians, the implications are rarely thought through. In substance it is a good idea, but before implementing anything, you need the infrastructure to back it up. You need to cover the entire spectrum which fits into the definition, in this case literring, and not just part of it.

It does seem odd that in a country where people profess to love nature and the environment that so much goes on to destroy it. Perhaps part of the problem is the constant cleaning that goes on? I mean, could people not really be aware of the size of the problem they're creating? If a city were to suspend public cleaning, sweeping, etc for one week as a test, let's say, would people then realize how much litter they are creating?
20:26 June 23, 2011 by Canadian Dad
How many fatal fires and forest fires have empty beer cans caused?
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