BMUV prepares further amendment of the VerpackG
The law is primarily intended to promote reusable beverages and oblige retailers to offer reusable alternatives.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) has launched another amendment to the Packaging Act (VerpackG). According to the ministry, the "Law for Less Packaging Waste" essentially comprises five points, including an extension of the obligation to offer reusable packaging to all packaging materials and the obligation to provide consumer information. According to the draft, from July 2025 all final distributors of beverages in single-use packaging could be obliged to always offer a reusable alternative as well. The planned mandatory reusable offer relates to beer and mixed beer beverages, carbonated soft drinks, mineral waters, juices, nectars and milk. According to the ministry's plans, the reusable alternatives offered must be priced similarly to the same beverages in one-way containers. However, reusable quotas have not yet been included in the draft. Discounters, which have not sold reusable containers to date, are also to offer reusable glass or plastic bottles for beverages in the future. In addition, the BMUV plans to introduce a general take-back obligation for all reusable bottles and crates for final distributors with a sales area of over 200 square meters, also from July 2025, with the amendment to the law. Smaller stores, snack bars and retailers will only have to take back the reusable beverage packaging and reusable crates they offer themselves, analogously to the regulations for the one-way deposit. The BMUV is also planning new requirements for food packaging offered for on-site consumption. From 2025, these products will no longer be allowed to be offered in single-use packaging. The obligation to offer reusable packaging is also to be extended to all packaging materials for ready-to-eat food and beverages, such as those sold by delivery services. There are no plans to introduce a statutory single-use charge.
Within the traffic light coalition, the plan meets with reservations, especially from the FDP, Euwid reports. Judith Skudelny, environmental spokeswoman for the FDP in the Bundestag, for example, would see no need for compulsory measures against disposables because an ecological advantage of reusable systems has not been proven. Retailers, breweries and can manufacturers also massively criticized the proposals, Euwid also reports. The HDE trade association, for example, warned of "considerable effects" of the plans on the retail trade and criticized the planned reusable supply and return obligations for all beverage packaging. Environmental associations such as the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu) and the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) have responded positively to Minister Lemke's proposals, but have called for more far-reaching measures.
Further information: BMUV's key points on the law for less packaging waste (in German)
- Euwid Recycling und Entsorgung 26/2023, bmuv.de (June 27, 2023)
- euwid-recycling.de (June 28, 2023)
- Photo: © unsplash.com, Franki Chamaki