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German court rejects appeal against drink deposit

GERMANY: January 20, 2003

BERLIN - Germany's federal administrative court rejected an appeal to block deposit charges on non-refillable cans and bottles which were introduced this month.

The court, as well as Germany's constitutional court, had previously turned down bids to postpone the launch of the deposits and on Thursday the judges in the eastern city of Leipzig said that 33 retailers and drinks firms who brought the complaint had failed to make their case.

The German government introduced on January 1 a deposit of 25 cents for small containers of beer or soft drinks and 50 cents for cans and bottles larger than 1.5 litres. Deposits are repaid when the bottles and cans are returned.

The government's plans and previous German courts' support for the directive have boosted shares in Norway's Tomra Systems Inc, which makes recycling machines which accept waste bottles and repay the deposits.

Retailers and beverage manufacturers have long opposed the measure but the government says it is necessary because the percentage of cans and bottles being recycled - typically after being returned to the retailer - has fallen below a 72 percent minimum target set in 1997.

The 33 retail groups and drinks producers originally complained to a court in the western state of North Rhine-Wespthalia which blocked the plans in a ruling in September, saying they did not conform with an existing law on recycling and refuse. However, a higher state court overturned that
ruling in November.

Opponents of the deposits system have said industry faces start-up costs of 1.4 billion euros ($1.48 billion) and running costs of 0.9 billion euros per year and lost sales.

Environmental bodies say the measures support their campaign to clear three billion cans and bottles from Germany's streets.

A nationwide system to collect cans and bottles is due to be in place by October. Currently, retailers are only accepting those containers which they themselves sold.

This article was kindly by ScoWaste, a mailing list run by Sustainable Resource Management Sytems for RAGS and FoE Scotland.
















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