Germany to extend mandatory deposit system for disposable plastic bottles

BERLIN, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The German government has approved the extension of the mandatory deposit system to all beverage bottles made of disposable plastic and to beverage cans from next year onwards, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) said on Wednesday.

The new law puts an end to some exceptions for beverages sold in plastic bottles and cans in Germany, according to the BMU. For example, carbonated fruit juices (spritzers) already had to add a deposit to the selling price, while non-carbonated fruit juices were previously not included.

Restaurants, bistros and cafes in Germany that sell takeaway food or drinks would be obliged to offer their products in reusable packaging from 2023, according to the BMU. The new law still needs the approval of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, respectively the lower and upper house of parliament.

"Takeaway food is part of everyday life for a growing number of people. The downside is a growing mountain of waste in many households," said Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze in a statement.

In addition, new plastic bottles should no longer be made using petroleum, but increasingly from old recycled plastic, the ministry noted. Disposable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles would have to be made of at least 25 percent recycled plastic from 2025.

The new regulation would help the country "avoid waste, save raw materials and protect the environment," the government said.

Since the beginning of the year, a European Union-wide export ban on mixed or contaminated hard-to-recycle plastic waste has been in effect. In Germany, stricter regulations have been in place since 2019 to control the orderly recycling of plastic packaging, according to the German government.

Exports of plastic waste from Germany to China and southeast Asia have fallen significantly since 2016, with around 2,600 tonnes exported to China in 2019, down from 562,910 tonnes three years earlier, according to the government.

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