Jump to content
Containern ist keine Straftat
Supermarkt von ElasticComputeFarm, lizensiert unter Pixabay License
Democracy and fundamental rights
Art. 20a

Dumpster diving is not a crime

Rescuing food from dumpsters must be decriminalised. We supported the constitutional complaint of two students who were convicted of theft.

The GFF supported a constitutional complaint against the criminal sentence given to two students who had taken food from dumpsters. Saving edible food from the rubbish counteracts food waste. Nevertheless, the students were found guilty of theft. The Federal Constitutional Court upheld this verdict on 18 August 2020, but emphasised in its decision that the federal government can legally put a stop to food waste and thus make dumpster diving redundant. We remain convinced that food that is disposed of does not deserve protection under criminal law. The ball is now in the politicians' court and they must take action against food waste.

Dumpster diving must be decriminalised

The two students are accused of taking fruit, vegetables and yoghurt from a waste container belonging to the Edeka company on 4 June 2018. On 30 January 2019, the Fürstenfeldbruck Local Court found them guilty of theft and issued them with a warning. On appeal, the Bavarian Supreme Regional Court confirmed the criminal sentence on 2 October 2019.

For the students, dumpster diving is a conscious sign against food waste. The students Caro and Franzi therefore demand a legal ban on food waste and a legalisation of dumpster diving. They handed over 130,000 signatures for these demands at the Justice Ministers' Conference.

Criminal law may only be used against behaviour causing social harm

Since politicians did not act, the two students defended themselves against the criminalisation of their commitment against food waste. Represented by lawyers Max Malkus and Susanne Keller and supported by the GFF, they filed a constitutional complaint on 8 November 2019 against the criminal verdict of the first two instances. The Federal Constitutional Court served the non-acceptance order on 18 August 2020. The Federal Constitutional Court does not see the punishment following dumpster diving as a violation of fundamental rights. According to the court, the legislature is permitted to protect disposed property with the means of criminal law.

The Federal Constitutional Court hence fails to recognise the constitutional limits of criminal law. The supermarket no longer had any interest in the food, it was completely worthless to it. To nevertheless protect this property with the means of criminal law violates the principle that criminal law must be the ultima ratio under the rule of law. Criminal law interferes particularly strongly with the rights of citizens - for example by prison sentences, by fines, but also through the stigmatising effect of the entry of the sentence in the Federal Central Register. It is therefore to be limited to behaviour that is "particularly harmful to society and intolerable for orderly coexistence [...]" (BVerfGE 88, (203, 258); 120 (224, 240)). The social problem is food waste by supermarkets and not dumpster diving.

Grundrechte verteidigen.
Fördermitglied werden!