Further decline in 2017 of reusables share in beverage packaging

Only beer is sold mostly in reusable bottles

Eine Kiste mit leeren Bierflaschen von oben.Click to enlarge
Reusable bottles sourced from the region are the most ecological option in beverage packaging.

Ihr Anteil am Gesamtverbrauch wird jedoch immer geringer.

Source: kelifamily / fotolia.de

In 2017 only about 42 percent of all beverages was packaged in reusable bottles, landing the market share 0.5 percentage points lower than in 2016. New data is based on the latest survey by the German Environment Agency (UBA) of the beverage filling sector in Germany. The reusables share therefore continues to fall far short of the 70 percent target required by the Packaging Act. UBA President Maria Krautzberger said: "Short transport routes and reusable packaging are vital to avoid pollution and waste, and for that we need refillables systems that work well. Supermarkets and beverage sales points should offer as many beverages packaged in reusable bottles as possible and help in the effort to generate less waste." Most beverages are now bottled in disposable plastic bottles, a segment with a market share of about 52 percent. Cans have a market share of around 4 percent. Drinks carton packaging and stand-up bags have a market share of around 1.5 percent. One-way glass bottles have a share of well below one percent in the drinks segments subject to a deposit.

The share of beverages filled in reusable packaging has declined steadily in recently years, down from 48 percent in 2010. Since beverage packaging comprises more than one quarter of packaging waste in Germany, a larger market share for reusable packaging would cut packaging waste significantly. From a climate protection perspective, reusable systems are the better choice: reusable glass bottles can be refilled 50 times, plastic reusables 20 times. Reusable bottles sourced from the region are optimal due to low emissions from transport. This prevents unnecessary waste and saves energy and raw materials.

Maria Krautzberger said: “Not all vendors offer reusable packaging, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for consumers to make good ecological choices when shopping. The more bottlers and vendors choose reusable bottles, the better the reusable system will work. It works best with reusable pool bottles which can be used by many bottlers. That is better for the environment than custom designed bottles and crates which are redeemed by one bottler only.”

Beer is the only exception in the low market share of reusables packaging – its current market share is nearly 82 percent. Yet even this is changing, with more people opting for one-way bottles. The reusables share in beverage packaging was at nearly percent back in 2010.

Further information:

A German Environment Agency project funded under the Environment Ministry’s research plan for 2020 will be investigating possible measures to increase the reusables share.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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