Beware of Penalties: Why "To give away"-Crates can be more expensive than expected!

You often see boxes on the side of the road with the inscription “to give away”. The well-intentioned boxes can, under certain circumstances, result in fines. If illegal dumping is suspected or the boxes are left outside without permission, then this can have consequences.

Despite good intentions, gift boxes can be expensive

Books, children’s toys and art that have already been read are often given away. The boxes are on the side of the road with a note on them that says “to be given away”. However, well-intentioned donations can also result in fines.

According to an article on the news portal Chip, the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) explains that, despite the well-intentioned intentions, it is a so-called “wild dumping of waste”. If enough people don’t quickly become interested in the things that have been dumped and take them away, then it is considered illegal dumping. There are fines for this.

According to the chip article, the amount of the fines depends on the items. Household items usually cost 200 euros. For objects with sharp edges or liquids it is already 300 to 500 euros and for electrical appliances payments of up to 5,000 euros can be required.

Follow a few simple rules and everything should work out

An article in the online magazine Utopia explains that the “To Give Away” boxes are not a replacement for the trash can. Things that are given away there should also be in appropriate condition and be of use to someone.

The contents of the box must be suitable for minors and harmless. You have no control over who looks at things and takes them. Accordingly, no oils, paint cans or glass may be included.

The box should not be displayed for more than 24 hours. If the donations were not taken after the deadline, the Utopia article adds, then the items should be given away elsewhere.

Sidewalks must be usable and the city should be kept clean

The chip article adds that if you want to legally leave your “to give away” box outside, you must obtain permission from the public order office. It is important that the sidewalk is kept clear. It must still be possible for pedestrians, wheelchair users, strollers and people with walkers to use the sidewalk.

According to an MDR report, the boxes have already caused problems in some cities. In Erfurt and Halle, for example, the “to give away” boxes are probably littering the paths. The city of Halle therefore recommends that the boxes only be offered at the entrance to the house. Things are different in Magdeburg, the article adds. The city wouldn’t require a permit there either; the boxes would disappear after two days anyway. In addition, there is no intention to make a profit, explains the city of Magdeburg.

Editorial team