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interpack, 8.-14.05.2014, Düsseldorf, Germany

08-05-14 to 14-05-14

International Trade Fair for Processes and Packaging Machinery and Packaging Confectionery Machinery

Topic of the month January 2012

Single-use and re-usable packaging: Deposits, market and innovations

Water, beer, juices, coke and other beverages are sold in a variety of packaging systems in Germany: reusable glass or plastic bottles, cardboard cartons, single-use containers with a deposit or single-use packaging with the Green Dot. Especially up and coming are single-use PET bottles – at the expense of reusable systems. According to information from the Federal Ministry of the Environment, the percentage of reusable bottles was recently as low as 49.2 %. In 2009 single-use plastic bottles were the most frequently used means of packaging at 46.3 %.

Over the years reusable glass bottles (34.2 %) and reusable plastic bottles (15.0) have lost ground; likewise beverage cartons (2.4), beverage cans (1.3) and single-use glass bottles were less in demand. “Consumers choosing drinks at supermarkets or from beverage retailers not only opt for a particular drink but also always for its packaging,” says Michael Brandl, CEO of FKN Fachverband Kartonverpackungen für flüssige Nahrungsmittel e.V. (the Association for Carton Packaging for Liquid Foods).

Furthermore, consumers also always make a conscious decision for or against deposit schemes: Since May 2006 Germany has enjoyed a consistent deposit scheme. Since then retailers have been obliged to also accept beverage packaging empties for beverages they have not sold themselves provided they sell that particular packaging material. Beverage cartons, stand-up pouches and tubular bags are considered ecologically advantageous and are therefore freed from deposits. Some beverages are freed from deposits regardless of their packaging such as milk, fruit and vegetable juices, diet drinks, wines and spirits.

The traditional returnable deposit is charged by retailers themselves while not being mandatory. Beer bottles (0.33l or 0.5l) come with a deposit of 8 cents, beer bottles with clasp tops with 15 cents. There are also returnable bottles for mineral water, soda, yoghurt, milk, cream or fruit juices made of glass or more rigid plastics (all with 15 cent deposit). Some but not all bottles bear the circular reusable logo. And even the bottles without this symbol bear the information "reusable" or "returnable bottle". The latter are refilled several times: on average PET bottles are filled approximately 15 times, glass bottles about 50 times. Some of them also bear the Blue Angel symbol for reusable bottles. 

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