On the eve of the big cross-country weekend of the summer holidays, an Ipsos study commissioned by the Vinci motorways reveals that a third of French motorists throw rubbish out of their car windows.
As a whole, this study concerns the environmental practices of the French on the holiday route. At a time when the Jews and the Aoûtists will cross paths this weekend, French motorways are likely to be crowded with cars and more and more rubbish.
Between handkerchiefs, cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottles, cans and other garbage, the highways are turning into a life-size garbage dump all over the territory. A problem explained by this alarming finding revealed by the study: one Frenchman out of three admits to throwing his rubbish out of his car window.
Among these wastes, we find first the organic remains, such as cores, skins or fruit stones (25%), followed by cigarette butts and chewing gum (14%), then paper, tissues and various packaging (6%).
One Frenchman in three throws his rubbish out of their car window when he goes on holiday. Photo credit : Shutterstock / Justek16
A gesture that seems to them to be minimal, but all in all, it is a very destructive gesture for the environment. In fact, the study shows that one French person in five believes that throwing a cigarette butt out of a car window has no consequences.. Yet forest fires that have ravaged hundreds of hectares of nature, homes, and even more, have started with this “minimal” gesture. In the same spirit, 20% of them consider it not serious to throw food packaging on the road.
In addition, the study shows that a minority of French people, in a holiday spirit, tended to relax in their ecological practices, particularly in waste sorting. Indeed, only 67% of them sort their waste on the motorway areas, although they are equipped with sorters, whereas 89% do so in their daily lives. To justify themselves, 83% of those who leave their rubbish by the roadside use the excuse that there are no bins nearby (or that they are full), while 40% admit that they do not want to take their leftovers with them in the car to throw them away later.
Bad habits that are a source of great concern, as Bernadette Moreau, head of sustainable development at Vinci Autoroutes, explains to Le Parisien : “On a section of motorway between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, we counted up to 200 cigarette butts per kilometre per day. In addition to the particularly critical fire risk during the summer months, the throwing of cigarette butts or any other waste on the road can cause lasting damage to nature”..
Last year, 9,000 tonnes of waste were collected on the entire French motorway network, i.e. one tonne of waste per kilometre.
Basically, when the French go on holiday, some of them lose this aspect of civility, thus degrading the environment more than when they are not on holiday.