German packaging deposits cleared for take-off
Environment Daily 1166, 26/02/02
Germany has mandated that the beverage industry maintain a minimum
of 72% refillable containers. If they fall below that percentage,
Germany's 1991 packaging ordinance requires the introduction of
punitive deposits on the one-way containers. It seems that they
have fallen below the 72% and the government is making ready to
follow through on the deposits while the manufacturers are getting
ready to fight it. Oh, to be German!
The German government is preparing to introduce deposits on a
range of one-way drinks containers before the end of this year
after the failure of a lawsuit brought by manufacturing and retailing
interests. The coalition of 16 firms, coordinated through packaging
makers' association Agvu could, however, still appeal to Germany's
At issue is the government's right to publish official data showing
that the share of beer and mineral water packaged in refillable
containers fell below a required minimum of 72% in 1999. Germany's
1991 packaging ordinance requires the introduction of punitive
deposits on one-way packaging for these drinks six months after
the figures' formal publication.
The environment ministry has welcomed the Berlin higher administrative
court judgement, which was released on Friday. The February 1999
to January 2000 data would now be released, an official told Environment
Daily, probably with a delay of a month or two to allow inclusion
of official May 2000 to April 2001 figures at the same time.
It is already known that in this compliance period the 72% refill
quota was also breached for carbonated soft drinks. The government
wants to spark introduction of one-way container deposits on all
three categories simultaneously rather than in stages.
The official rejected media reports of government concern that
deposits might now be introduced around the time of national elections
in September. The government had support from 70-80% of the population
on the issue, he said. Can manufacturers "are not the only
ones going to the polls", he added.
States governed by the centre-right political opposition could
nevertheless try to make "can-deposits" into an electoral
issue. Following Friday's court judgement, Baden Württemberg's
cabinet agreed this morning to team up with other centre-right
states to try and force a change of policy.