- New figures from Germany’s Federal Environment Agency show a stagnating reusable rate for beverage packaging of only 41.8 percent
- Large bottlers and retailers continue to boycott the statutory reusable quota of 70 percent and list more and more cans that are harmful to the climate
- DUH demands a deposit of at least 20 cents in addition to the deposit on climate-damaging single-use plastic bottles and cans
Berlin – Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), a German not-for-profit, is criticizing the ongoing boycott of reusable bottles by large bottlers and retailers, as evidenced by the current reusable quota of the Federal Environment Agency. According to information, only 41.8 percent of beverage packaging was reusable in 2019. In order to achieve the statutory reusable quota of 70 percent, the DUH is demanding that the coming federal government quickly introduce an incentive tax of at least 20 cents in addition to the deposit on disposable plastic bottles and beverage cans. The negative environmental impact of one-way use must be reflected in the product price, the group stresses. The income from the one-way levy, it suggests, should be used to fund reusable packaging. The consistent strengthening of reusable packaging usage must be an integral part of the German climate protection strategy, DUH adds.
The packaging law specifies a reusable share of 70 percent. Unfortunately, single-use plastic bottles dominate with around a 51 percent share. The increase in sales of beverage cans, which are particularly harmful to the climate, by 10 percent to 3.9 billion units is also worrying. The currently published reusable quota of 41.8 percent is at a similar level to the previous year at 41.2 percent. Reusable bottles protect the climate, save resources and avoid waste, DUH notes.
“The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proves once again that climate protection must be implemented now and immediately in all areas of life,” says Deputy DUH Federal Manager Barbara Metz. “In the case of non-alcoholic beverages alone, the use of reusable bottles could save 1.4 million tons of CO2 annually compared to disposable bottles.
“Against this background, it is irresponsible that players like Aldi and Lidl rely exclusively on one-way use and are also pushing the comeback of the particularly climate-damaging beverage can. Even large bottlers such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Danone, or Nestlé are not even close to implementing the reusable quota of 70 percent The federal government must put an end to this hustle and bustle and induce the market players to offer reusable bottles through a levy on disposable bottles.”
Around 17.4 billion single-use plastic bottles are produced in Germany every year, which is around 2 million per hour. This creates a total of over 450,000 tons of plastic waste. This corresponds to the weight of more than 6 cruise ships, each with a capacity of 2,200 passengers.
“The answer to the plastic waste crisis cannot be even more single-use plastic bottles,” says the DUH head of circular economy Thomas Fischer. “In order to reduce the growing mountains of plastic waste, packaging should primarily be avoided and reused before it is recycled, in accordance with the waste hierarchy laid down in the Recycling Management Act. However, only reusable bottles can do this.”
- Information on the consumer campaign “Mehrweg ist Klimaschutz”: https://www.duh.de/mehrweg-klimaschutz0/
- Information on the environmental friendliness of beverage packaging: https://www.duh.de/themen/recycling/verpackungen/getraenkeverpackungen/
- Study by the Federal Environment Agency on beverage packaging: https://ots.de/uDlkae