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How Germany plans to expand its bottle deposit scheme in 2024?

How Germany plans to expand its bottle deposit scheme in 2024?

In 2024, Germany’s renowned Flaschenpfand (bottle deposit) scheme is set to undergo significant expansion, encompassing a broader range of products. This article explores the key details of How Germany plans to expand its bottle deposit scheme in 2024? its impact on consumers, and the government’s commitment to waste prevention.

Overview of Germany’s Flaschenpfand System

Germany’s Flaschenpfand has been a successful recycling initiative for two decades, encouraging consumers to pay a deposit on bottles for a refund upon return. The system, credited with keeping streets cleaner and promoting recycling, initially applied to mineral water, beer, and soft drinks. Consumers return items to supermarkets and receive refunds directly or deducted from their next shopping bill.

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Evolution of the Deposit Scheme

In recent years, the deposit scheme expanded to include alcoholic mixed drinks, lemonades, and fruit juices. The upcoming change in 2024 signifies a further extension, encompassing almost all drinks from refrigerated shelves. This includes a 25-cent deposit on milk, mixed milk beverages, and drinkable milk products in one-way plastic beverage bottles.

Products Affected by the 2024 Extension

From January 1st, 2024, the mandatory deposit will apply to specific products, primarily focusing on drinking milk products, fresh milk, and iced coffee-style drinks in plastic bottles. For instance, if a fresh milk bottle costs €1.79 in December, it will be €2.04 a month later, with the 25-cent deposit refunded upon bottle return.

Challenges and Uncertainties

Despite the expansion, challenges arise, especially concerning the return process for dairy products due to hygiene risks. There are concerns about mould and odours in vending machines, prompting potential measures like emptying and rinsing packaging before return.

Mixed Reactions and Industry Concerns

Reactions to the extended deposit scheme are mixed. Industry leaders express concerns about hygiene risks and the impact on existing recycling systems. The Dairy Industry Association emphasizes that plastic milk bottles belong in recycling bins, not deposit return machines.

Government Initiatives and EU Measures

The Federal Ministry for the Environment’s changes align with broader European Union efforts to minimize waste. By 2030, Germany aims to implement various measures, including deposits on all beverage bottles and cans and quotas for reusable and disposable products in supermarkets.

Germany’s Pfand system, evolving since its inception, continues to play a crucial role in waste prevention. The 2024 expansion reflects the nation’s commitment to recycling and aligns with European goals for sustainable resource use. As consumers adapt to these changes, the impact on recycling habits and the environment remains a focal point.

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