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A new Future for Refillables Policy instruments in Europe for Reuse protection and experiences from Germany B udapest , 1 5 th February 2007 by Jürgen Resch, Executive Director. In former years beverages were packed only in refillables with a deposit. History ….

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A new Future for Refillables

Policy instruments in Europe for Reuse protection and experiences from Germany

Budapest, 15th February 2007

by Jürgen Resch, Executive Director

In 2002, world-wide more than 75% of all beve-rages were packed in cans or plastic bottles – often without deposit.

… and reality today

basic eu policy instruments
Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC

Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (PPWD) 94/62/EC

Thematic Strategy on the prevention and recycling of waste

Basic EU policy instruments

The recent situation in Europe

  • After the installation of a new mandatory deposit system in Germany - with positive effects to the refillable system - more countries are interested to follow suit
  • Industry-driven LCA’s and new EU studies try to show that there is “no ecological benefit” of refillable systems
  • Strong campaign against Re-use and Refillable Systems driven by Green Dot systems, certain members of drinks and packaging Industry
  • Need for a thorough and balanced assessment of the potential for refillable systems in Europe

Refillables: a better systemto meet EU objectives of packaging waste reduction

  • EU Directive 94/62 on packaging and packaging waste
    • Future revision?
    • Bring in line with the Waste Framework Directive
  • EU Waste Framework Directive proposal
    • Prevention
    • Reuse
    • Recycling
    • Recovery
    • Final disposal

IMPLEMENTATION REPORT OF DIRECTIVE 94/62/ECCOM(2006) 767 final, 6.12.2006

“Most studies found reusable packaging to be better in situations with generally low transport distances and high return rates, and one-way packaging to be better in situations with generally high transport distances and low return rates.

Given this background, it seems currently neither possible nor appropriate to propose harmonised measures to encourage reusable consumer beverage packaging at the Community level.

In general, appropriately designed national measures encouraging reusable packaging have environmental benefits. On the other hand, such measures can have impacts on the internal market. Finding a right balance between the involved economic and environmental interests remains one of the main tasks in this sector. Therefore, with respect to beverage packaging, the Commission will further evaluate the need to clarify or amend the provisions of Articles 5 and 7 of the Packaging Directive in order to facilitate its free circulation within the internal market. …”


IMPLEMENTATION REPORT OF DIRECTIVE 94/62/ECANNEX Brussels, 6.12.2006 COM(2006) 767 final

“…It is estimated that today Reuse systems are no longer commercially viable without a political support since they are absent or only of marginal importance in those Member States where such a political support does not exist. At the same time unilateral measures taken at Member State level in order to introduce beverage packaging reuse systems have a potential to partition the internal market. …”


Instruments to protect reuse and to enforce recycling

  • Bans for one-way containers (Denmark until 2002) and Obligationsfor specific product-packaging combinations (Netherlands until 2006)
  • Fiscal Measures on one-way containers or tax reduction on reuse containers (Ontario, New York State, Finland, Belgium)
  • Return- and Collection systems with deposit on one-way containers (about 30 systems worldwide, in Europe: Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands for bottles > 05,l and Croatia)
  • Combination of Deposit and Tax(Finland on cans, Denmark, Norway)

1. Bans and Obligations are the best instruments, but… Brussels, 6.12.2006 COM(2006) 767 final

“…The most effective measures aiming to protect refillable packaging systems included bans or authorisation procedures for one-way packaging. However, such measures were incompatible with Article 18 of the Directive, which provides that “Member States shall not impede the placing on the market of their territory of packaging which satisfies the provisions of this Directive”.

Article 5 of the Directive allows Member States to “encourage reuse systems of packaging, which can be reused in an environmentally sound manner, in conformity with the Treaty”. This limits the freedom of Member States to measures which are in line with articles 28 to 30 of the Treaty. Following the jurisprudence of the Court, in order to be justified for reasons of environmental protection such measures must be appropriate, necessary and proportionate to the aim pursued.


2. Fiscal measuresBrussels, 6.12.2006 COM(2006) 767 final

“…Several Member States have introduced fiscal measures to protect refillable beverage packaging. Article 15 of the Packaging Directive provides that in the absence of Community measures aiming to promote the implementation of the objectives set by this directive, Member States may introduce economic instruments in line with the relevant provisions of the Treaty. Measures of a purely fiscal nature need to be assessed under Article 90 of the Treaty. This article does not contain any requirements for an environmental justification of tax exemptions or reduced tax rates.

Therefore, national measures on this basis were generally found compatible with Community legislation and have become more widely applied in the Member States. Nevertheless, technical specifications linked to fiscal measures also need to be assessed under Articles 28-30 of the Treaty. Such technical specifications were found incompatible with the Community law...”


3. Return- and Collection – Deposit SystemsBrussels, 6.12.2006 COM(2006) 767 final

“…Measures concerning the return and collection of packaging waste are based on Article 7 of the Packaging Directive. This article foresees that Member States shall take the necessary measures to set up such systems for used packaging and/or packaging waste.

Article 7 also allows the use of deposit systems for one-way packaging. However, the same article provides that such systems shall apply to imported products under non-discriminatory conditions.

In judgements C-463/01 and C-309/02, the Court took the view that “Article 7 of the Packaging Directive leaves it to the Member States to choose (a collection system) provided that the systems chosen are designed to channel packaging to the most appropriate waste management alternatives and form part of a policy covering all packaging and packaging waste.”


3. Return- and Collection – Deposit Systems - ConditionsBrussels, 6.12.2006 COM(2006) 767 final

Certain conditions have to be observed as regards system which are newly introduced and replace older systems:

"The new system must be equally appropriate for the purpose of attaining the objectives of Directive 94/62. In particular, where the new system is (…) a deposit and return system, the Member State must ensure that there are a sufficient number of return points so that consumers who have been charged a deposit when buying goods in non-reusable packaging can recover the deposit even if they do not go back to the initial place of purchase.“


Our Comments on the Study:COM(2006) 767 final, 6.12.2006

  • We agree that re-use systems for beverage packaging:
  • carry environmental benefits especially but not only when implemented at local level√
  • require political support √
  • are compatible with internal market are most effectively protected through bans and obligations√ – it is a pity that they are not compatible with EU-law!
  • the remaining two instruments are fiscal measures and deposit √ - best success with deposit systems or even better a combination of deposit and tax.

Differing attitudes towards Re-use systems for beverage packaging in the EU Member States

  • Clear strategies to promote reuse
  • Finland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Estonia, Croatia
  • Loose strategies to protect reuse
  • Austria, Belgium
  • No strategies to protect reuse
  • UK, France, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Malta Portugal, Italy and Spain, and most Balkan states

With legal support…

The introduction of a deposit in Germany on cans and plastic bottles is a success story for REFILLABLES.

The deposit creates a level playing field for refillables and one way beverage containers


Without legal support…

Littering problems are typical for countries without deposit like in Germany until 2002

Germany is not the first country, where the deposit was implemented to provide better recycling and protect refillables

Worldwide there are more than 30 different systems running – all successfully

New deposit systems have been implemented 2006 in the Netherlands (for PET bottles >0,5l) and in Croatia. In other states implementation is being seriously considered.

Deposit to protect refillables


Worldwide Deposit Systems


  • 8 of 10 Canadian provinces have a deposit-return system
  • Recovery rate of more than 75%
  • Systems implemented between 1970 and 1997


  • National deposit system including soft drinks and beer
  • Implementation date Sept. 2002
  • Deposit on one-way glass and PET and on cans (deposit on refillables already in place)

Countries/regions with an installed deposit system for one-way containers

Countries/regions that are in the process of evaluating a deposit-system for one-way containers


  • National deposit system including soft drinks and beer
  • Deposit on one-way containers implemented 1999 (deposit on refillables already in place)
  • Recovery rate of 75-90%


May 2005


  • National deposit system including soft drinks and beer
  • Deposit on one-way containers implemented in 1984 for cans and 1994 for PET (deposit on refillables already in place)
  • Recovery rate of 80-90% on one way containers


  • Implementation date 1.01.2003
  • Deposit on one-way glass and PET and on cans (deposit on refil-lables already in place)


  • 11 of 50 states have a deposit return system
  • Systems implemented between 1972 and 1987
  • Deposit systems vary across States, but the majority includes beer and soft-drinks


  • National deposit system including soft drinks and beer
  • Deposit on cans only from 1996 (deposit on refillables already in place)



Jan 2005

deposit benefits for recycling and re use
Deposit: benefits for recycling and re-use
  • Highest return rates for one-way containers (Sweden: 84%, Norway 85%, Finland 95%, Germany > 90%) No other system can compete!
  • Clean material fractions generated right at source enable high quality recycling (waste material valued at 100-200 € for coloured post user PET material, 300 € for uncoloured post user PET)
  • All the material collected for recycling is currently recycled
deposit an instrument preventing l ittering
Deposit : an instrument preventing littering
  • One-way deposit prevents littering of one-way containers
  • With re-use systems littering problems do not exist
  • Littering is one of the most important indicators of environmental pollution
  • Littering reduction is an ecological and economical waste management target
  • Littering has to be taken into consideration in LCAs
example reduction of littering in germany
Example: Reduction of littering in Germany
  • Until 2002 : 1-2 billion one-way beverage containers were littered (20-25% of all littering) Witzenhausen Institute Study
  • Since 2003: Littering of one-way beverage packaging has disappeared on all packs under the deposit scheme

Deposit: Positive effect for refillables

Mandatory deposit helps to ensure refillable packaging reaches high return rates:

Without deposit

evolution of the re use rate for soft drinks and water in portugal

Decline of re-use systems without legislative support

Case study Portugal

Evolution of the re-use rate for soft drinks and water in Portugal

Source: Quercus, Portuguese situation on reusable packaging – December 2003

positive environmental effects of re use systems
Positive environmental effects of re-use systems
  • Reduction of material consumption
  • Reduction of energy consumption
  • Reduction of landfill
  • Reduction of littering
  • Reduction of the global warming
  • Reduction of summer smog
  • Reduction of air and water pollution

Several studies confirm the environmental advantages of re-use systems, e.g.:

  • LCA of the German Federal Environmental Agency UBA II, phase 1 and 2 (2000 and 2002)
  • LCA of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (1998)
  • LCA of Norway (2003)
  • LCA of the TNO, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (2001)
  • Screening LCA for relevant packaging of beer ordered by can producer Ball Packaging, IFEU (III/ 2003)

Environmental performance of different packaging 1/2

Global warming potential


Source: IFEU Institute LCA III/2003 - relevant beverage packaging for beer


Environmental performance of different packaging 2/2

Summer Smog


Source: IFEU Institute LCA III/2003 - relevant beverage packaging for beer

situation in hungary
Law about product fees from 2004

Targets for re-use for 2007:

Water 7%

Wine 20%

Beer 60%

In the next years these shall increase

Reality is the very reverse!!!!!

Apart from that Hungary has to meet EU recycling targets

No collection at residence, only container collection

Situation in Hungary
Re-use and prevention go hand in hand in helping to substantially reduce packaging waste

Deposit is the most efficient market mechanism to ensure a high rate of return for recycling of one-way and of refillable beverage packaging

BUT: re-use systems for beverage packaging require political support

what is expected from hungary
A clear political commitment and strategy for protection and promotion of re-use

A decision for the implementation of a deposit on one-way packaging

On this base a roadmap including assistance and guidelines in exchange with other Member States to implement deposit systems for one-ways and refillables according to EU law and jurisprudence can be created

…what is expected from Hungary:
thank you for your attention

Jürgen Resch

Deutsche Umwelthilfe e. V.

Executive Director

Thank you for your attention!