Germany

Law Summary Ordinance on the Avoidance of Packaging Waste2 makes manufacturers responsible for taking back the packaging of their products and sets targets for refilling and recycling rates
Date Implemented January 1, 2003 (Packaging ordinance was passed July 1, 1993, but container deposits were not put into effect until 2003)
Containers Covered Glass, aluminum, plastic drink containers between .1 and 3 litres
Beverages Covered Beer, soft drinks including lemonade, mixed spirits. Excludes juice, drinks with over 50% milk content.
Refundable Deposits
  • One-way containers: 25¢ (Euro)
  • Refillable beer in 0.33 liter and 0.5 liter sizes: 8¢ (Euro) (Voluntary)
  • Refillable water, soft drink or juice bottles in 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0 liter sizes: 15¢ (Euro) (Voluntary)
Reclamation System Return to retail
Program Success In 1998, Refillables comprised 75% of the beverage market and the following percents of market share in the following categories:
  • Mineral water: 92%
  • Beer: 84%
  • Soft Drinks: 76%
  • Juice: 37%
  • Wine: 40%
  • Refillable PET holds 15% of the soft drink market share and less than 1% of the market share for mineral water.
Trippage rates: 8
  • Refillable glass: 50 trips
  • Refillable PET: 15 trips

Recycling Rates for packaging materials (2005 data)4

  • Glass: 83.6%
  • Aluminum: 77.8%
  • Plastic: 50.3%
  • Paper: 82.1%
  • Beverage Containers: 62.4%

Details

Should recycling targets (glass: 90%; aluminum: 90%; plastic: 80%) not be met by January 1, 1995, deposits were to be required for all non-refillable liquid containers, including beverages, liquid soaps and paint.

A provision in the Packaging Ordinance requires industry to maintain a minimum level of refillable containers, which for beer, soft drinks, fruit juice, mineral water and wine is 72% (milk 17%). If the levels are not maintained, the government was to set mandatory deposits. The market share of refillables rose to 75% after passage of the law, but fell below the required 72% between 1997 and 2000.6

Drink container deposits were set to be implemented on January 1, 2003 but the deadline was extended to Oct 1, 2003.1Originally, the deposit was 25 Euro ¢ for containers under 1.5L and 50¢ for larger containers, but that distinction was dropped after an amendment in 2005, and now the deposit for all containers is 25¢3. All deposit amounts are in eurocents.

Retailers were originally only required to take back the brands that they sell, but the law was amended in 2004 to require them to take back all containers that are made of the same material as containers they sell.7

The deposit also applies to detergents, cleaners, and emulsion paints (subject to some different requirements and deposit amounts). While the Packaging Ordinance also requires distributors and manufacturers to accept and recycle or reuse returned packaging for other products, there is no deposit charged on these other materials. Rather, the manufacturers fund the system by paying fees to product stewardship organizations.5

Refillable containers, which make up a significant portion of the beverage market in Germany, are exempt from the Packaging Ordinance, but carry voluntary deposits of 8 eurocents for beer bottles and 15 eurocents for noncarbonated beverage bottles.

Footnotes

1. Source: Report by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the implementation of the compulsory deposit for one-way drinks packaging by October 2003. October 2003. http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/pfandpflicht_berichtaneu_uk.pdf

2. Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recovery of Packaging Wastes (Packaging Ordinance - Verpackungsverordnung - VerpackV1) of 21 August 1998 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 2379) as last amended by Article 1 Third Amending Ordinance2 of 24 May 2005 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1407 of 27 May 2005) Unofficial text. May 2005. http://www.bmu.de/files/english/waste_management/downloads/application/pdf/verpackv_3aenderung_en.pdf

3. Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. "New provisions for the deposit on drink cans in Germany." May 2006. http://www.bmu.de/english/waste_management/general_information/doc/35155.php

4. Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. "Sales Packaging: Consumption, recycling, quotas 1991 to 2005," (citing Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung mbH (GVM), Recyclingbilanz, November 2007). March 2008. http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/sales_packaging_consumption_1991_2005.pdf

5. Source: R3 Consulting Group and Clarissa Morawski. "Germany Packaging Ordinance (Duales System)." Evaluating End-of-Life Beverage Container Management Systems for California. Section 9-1. May 15, 2009.

6. Source: Report by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the implementation of the compulsory deposit for one-way drinks packaging by October 2003. October 2003. http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/pfandpflicht_berichtaneu_uk.pdf

7. Source: R3 Consulting Group and Clarissa Morawski. "Germany: Deposit-Return" Section 10-1. Evaluating End-of-Life Beverage Container Management Systems for California. 2009.

8. Source: R3 Consulting Group and Clarissa Morawski. "Germany: Deposit-Return" Section 10-8. Evaluating End-of-Life Beverage Container Management Systems for California. 2009.

 

Updated December 17, 2011

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