The discussion on the introduction of mandatory deposit for beverage containers triggered by the inability to meet the quota for reusable containers according to the Packaging Directive passed in 1991 and amended in 1998 has kept Germany in suspension for many years. Consumers were uncertain, those selling beverages and packaging manufacturers were keen on finding a way to prevent a mandatory deposit system. One chance of avoiding the mandatory deposit (aside from certain types of beverages) proved to be the use of packaging considered »environmentally beneficial«. During the transition period and time of discussions on the amendment to the Packaging Directive, IFEU conducted many aspects of various studies on behalf of manufacturers and industry associations.
After having reached an agreement meanwhile with the federal states (the Bundesrat passed it on 15 October, 2004), the new amendment to the Packaging Directive states a clear regulation: A deposit is to be charged on mineral water, refreshing drinks, beer and alcopops in disposable beverage containers. Milk, wine and fruit juices are exempt from this rule, as well as »environmentally beneficial« packaging such as beverage cartons and stand-up pouches. The mandatory deposit is no longer coupled with achieving a quota for reusable containers, the deposit amounts to 25 cents for all containers. There will be no isolated applications - whoever sells returnable bottles is required to accept returnable bottles again, whoever sells cans also has to take them back.