French motorways: 30% of public admit to littering on roads

A third of people in France admit to throwing waste out of car windows while on the motorway, says a new poll, as motorway firm Vinci Autoroutes launches an anti-littering campaign ahead of a busy driving weekend.

31 July 2020
Litter on roadside. French motorways: 30% of public admit to littering on roads as Vinci launches new campaignMore than 25 tonnes of litter is picked up from Vinci motorways across France every day, the group said as it launched its new campaign
By Connexion journalist

More than 25 tonnes of rubbish is collected from along motorways up and down the country every day, said la Fondation Vinci Autoroutes.

A new poll by Ipsos, timed to coincide with the foundation’s new campaign and a busy weekend ahead for the motorways, found that almost one in three members of the French public admitted to throwing their litter out of their car windows.

The online poll questioned an anonymous, nationally-representative sample of 2,160 people aged 18 and over between July 10-14.

It showed that 30% of people admit to throwing their rubbish out of their car windows while driving on a motorway to go on holiday, a figure that has stayed the same since 2015.

Of these, 82% of people said they did so because existing rubbish bins were “too full”, and/or that there were not enough rubbish bins close by. Most people (86%) who littered said that they felt guilty about it, however.

The group has now launched a new anti-littering campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

In a new video spot, published on social media (above), it shows a man appearing to fight the urge to litter - designed to make it look as though he needs the toilet - and then shows him waiting until the next service station to throw his rubbish away.

The ad says: “Remember - the next rubbish bin is never far away!”.

It reminded drivers that there are rubbish bins for public use available at each of the 453 motorway service station areas across its network, and it has now put up signs to remind people of this as part of the new campaign.

Of those who admitted to littering, 12% (around a third of smokers) said they had thrown a cigarette butt out of their window; and 5% said they had already thrown a disposable face mask away in public.

Read more: Face mask littering in France risks fine up to €375

In a statement, Fondation Vinci Autoroutes said: “[This poll] shows that despite the growing importance of environmental issues in the public arena, individual awareness and behaviour is struggling to keep pace, especially when people are on the road or on holiday.”

The campaign comes ahead of one of the year’s busiest weekends on the roads in France, with usual predictions from national traffic service Bison Futé warning that traffic will be “difficult or very difficult” today (Friday July 31) rising to “extremely difficult” for people leaving cities towards holiday destinations tomorrow (Saturday August 1). 

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