German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin:
Deposit on disposable drinks packaging from 2002 will halt the advance of the can.
(German) Federal Environment Ministry Feb01
Agreement with Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology / additional costs of 1.84 pfennigs per packaging for industry and commerce.
The German government will introduce a compulsory deposit for ecologically harmful drinks packaging. From 1 January 2002, drinks cans and disposable glass and plastic (PET) bottles will be subject, regardless of content, to a deposit of 0.25 euros (0.50 euros for a net volume of 1.5 litres or more). Wine bottles will be exempt. The agreement was reached between Federal Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin and Federal Minister for Economics and Technology Werner Mueller. The Federal Environment Ministry will provide the sectors of industry concerned with a corresponding draft amendment to the Packaging Ordinance.
Trittin described the compulsory deposit as a significant step towards shaking off the 'throwaway' mentality. "The deposit on ecologically harmful packaging will slow down the advance of cans and disposable bottles and stabilize the proportion of ecologically advantageous reusable packaging. It provides incentives to the drinks industry, commerce and consumers to go back to reusable packaging to a greater extent, thus avoiding waste," said the minister. "The compulsory deposit will furthermore ensure that cans and bottles finally disappear from the scene." In addition, there will be a noticeable improvement in the recycling of packagings with deposit, as they can be taken back unmixed.
In Trittin's view the deposit will not create excessive costs for industry and commerce. Basing their calculations on a necessary investment volume of around 2.08 billion Marks, the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology estimate annual additional costs of 265 million DM, the equivalent of an extra cost of 1.84 pfennigs per packaging. "The compulsory deposit is therefore not only a consumer friendly instrument, but also an economically sound one which does not intervene in the market by imposing bans," said the minister, adding that the deposit would also ensure employment and investment in reusable systems, a sector in which mid-sized companies particularly have invested over the past years, showing confidence in the regulations contained in the Packaging Ordinance protecting reuseable systems.
The introduction of the compulsory deposit will repeal the Packaging Ordinance's previous protection regulations for reuseable packaging, under which the share of disposable and reuseable packaging respectively was calculated in a costly procedure, and which prescribed that the compulsory deposit was dependent on the share falling below 72%. In future, the Packaging Ordinance will classify drinks cartons as ecologically advantageous due to their overall positive evaluation from an environmental point of view.
The current Packaging Ordinance already provides for compulsory deposit in cases where the reuseable quota is not met and different results are not produced by a new survey. The 72% level was first undercut in 1997. Since the trend towards disposable packaging continued in the years that followed, it can be assumed that this will be confirmed by the new surveys up to January 2000, currently still being evaluated. This would have resulted in a deposit on beer and mineral water in the second half of 2001, i.e. the can of beer would have been subject to deposit, but not the can of cola, and Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin therefore committed himself to finding a feasible, easy-to-follow solution which is now being implemented.
German Federal Environment Ministry (English Version) http://www.bmu.de/english/fset1024.htm
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