SustainabilityNew packaging law for more recycling and reusable packaging

Today, the German parliament passed a new law on packaging. It aims to avoid packaging waste from private households overall and to promote recycling. Given the fact that the share of reusable packaging fell from two thirds to less than 50 per cent between 2004 and 2014, the new regulation seeks to counteract this trend.

The key aspects of the new packaging regulation are:

  • Higher recycling rates: The recycling rate for plastic packaging (now at 36 percent) shall increase to 63 percent by 2022. Recycling rates for paper (now 70 percent) and glass (now 75 percent) are expected to increase to 90 percent in that period.
  • Clear distinction between disposable and reusable bottles: Retailers are legally obliged to label their shelves transparently, so that consumers can make conscious decisions with regard to reusable or one-way packaging.
  • Higher reusable quota: In contrast to the current trend, the proportion of reusable packaging shall increase to 70 percent, thereby reducing the share of deposit-free packaging in circulation.

Barbara Hendricks, German Federal Minister for the Environment, commented: "After years of struggle, today we have passed a bill which will bring us a big step towards a sustainable cycle management and environmental protection as a whole. We strengthen the recycling of packaging through higher recycling rates. We create incentives for ecological and recyclable packaging. We strengthen returnable packaging through transparent indication of retail shelves for drinks."

Source: Federal Ministry of the Environment

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