Anyone returning deposit bottles is doing his bit for the environment. The same goes for reusable as well as one-way bottles and packaging. These are the findings of a study done by bifa environmental institute GmbH on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, according to which the compulsory deposit on one-way packaging does indeed amount to less litter on streets and in public areas. Furthermore, one-way packaging made of plastic or aluminium is more easily recoverable since collection volumes and sorting according to types have increased. Despite these positive effects it still holds true that reusable PET bottles are more ecologically advantageous than one-way bottles and packaging. UBA President Jochen Flasbarth commented, “Reusable packaging has proved to be the right choice ecologically speaking. The deposit on one-way packaging has also led to environmental improvements.”
The study puts forward a number of proposals on how to improve the current deposit system, seeking to extend the compulsory deposit to all beverage segments, with a “ONE-WAY" or "REUSABLE" labeling requirement on all packaging. The consumer could then immediately recognise on what terms he is purchasing his beverages.
The recommendations made by the bifa environmental institute to improve reusable systems promote more use of reusable PET bottles. Less energy is required for the production and transport of PET reusable bottles than for reusable glass bottles, making them a better choice for long-distance transport.
The final report titled Evaluierung der Pfandpflicht [Evaluation of the Refund Obligation] can be downloaded from the Federal Environment Agency website at http://www.umweltdaten.de/publikationen/fpdf-l/3931.pdf
The Verbrauch von Getränken in Einweg- und Mehrweg-Verpackungen, Berichtsjahr 2008 (survey of data concerning filling of beverages in reusable and ecological advantageous one-way packaging in Germany - year under review 2008) publication is available at: http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/uba-info-medien/3935.html.
Dessau-Roßlau, 3 May 2010