Germany’s money-back soft drinks cans and plastic bottles are a bother for its consumers, in Brussels’ view — to the point where it has given Berlin a three-month deadline to change the system, failing which legal action will be taken.
It is another case of unacceptable barriers. Shops selling the drinks can refuse to take back cans or bottles that a person bought somewhere else. So the consumer does not have the freedom to choose where to leave his empties, and have his 25 or 50 cents each returned to him. The system also gets in the way of drinks packaged outside Germany. Environmental responsibility is very well, Brussels says, but importers have rights too: Ninety-five percent of beer and other fizzy drinks knocking at the German market’s door is not recycle-friendly. Fruit juice could soon be in the same boat if the deposit system is not revamped.