Germany’s deposit system for recyclable — versus re-usable — drinks containers has been ruled illegal. Unfair to beverage-makers outside Germany, it breaks single market rules. Having no nation-wide collect system, German stores only refunded returns of what they sold, and to keep costs down stopped buying imports.
Commission spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber: “This is not the end of the road for the German Dosenpfand-System, now the German authorities hand in hand with the Commission are going to try to find a solution and then the European Commission is going to see whether to continue this case before the European Court of Justice or not. But this very much depends of course on what the German authorities are going to do in the next weeks to come.” The money-back packaging laws affected drinks produced in Germany and those from other Member States differently. Mineral water bottlers, for instance, must shoulder the cost of sending the empties a long way back to the source for re-filling. A compromise will have to satisfy European trade circulation rules at the same time as environmental considerations.