The amendment to the Closed Substance Cycle Act, which among other things implements the requirements of the European Single-Use Plastics Directive, also obliges those responsible for products to contribute to the costs incurred by municipalities for cleaning up the environment. This obligation to contribute only relates to the disposal of certain products in accordance with the Single-Use Plastics Directive that are not disposed of properly but in the environment. These are, for example, beverage cups and other to-go packaging or cigarette filters.
Dr. Olaf Konzak, Graf von Westphalen & Partner mbB Rechtsanwälte, has subjected this issue to a legal analysis on behalf of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung und Umwelt (AGVU). As a result, he sees producer responsibility reduced to a purely financial liability, the legal basis of which the lawyer considers to be more than dubious in many respects. For example, Konzak doubts whether, in the sense of the polluter-pays principle, which is used to justify the obligation to participate, the distributors are actually the polluters if consumers carelessly throw away or illegally dispose of these products. The polluter-pays principle requires an assessment of the individual polluter-pays contribution, which would be contrary to the planned model with lump sums. The design of the concrete cost sharing of the distributors in relation to the public waste management companies is also challenging: Both models currently under discussion, a fund solution or additional payments as part of the ancillary charges, are in his view not legally feasible at present, but would require legal adjustments.
More information: Expert opinion (only in German language)
- AGVU (2/18/2021)
- Photo: © Fotolia / Fotogestöber