Disposable plastic packaging, for example for coffee on the go, often ends up in parks and streets. In the future, the manufacturers should participate in the disposal. This promptly met with criticism.
In the future, manufacturers of single-use plastic products should contribute to the cost of removing rubbish from parks and streets. This is provided for in a draft law that the Federal Cabinet passed on Wednesday. Accordingly, it is envisaged that the companies will in future pay an annual fee into a central fund managed by the Federal Environment Agency. The amount of the levy is based on the type and quantity of products that you bring to the market.
Municipalities can receive funding from the fund to cover their costs for waste management and awareness-raising activities in this area. The products whose disposal the manufacturers are supposed to help finance in the future include tobacco products with filters containing plastic, beverage containers and cups and to-go food containers.
So far paid for by the general public
“So far, the general public has borne the costs for cleaning and disposal of carelessly thrown away plastic, that should change,” said Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) on Wednesday after the cabinet decision. “Anyone who bases their business on bringing single-use plastic products onto the market should contribute to the collection and cleaning costs of the municipalities.”
Manufacturers have to pay the fee for the first time in spring 2025, based on the product volume placed on the market in the 2024 calendar year. According to the Ministry of the Environment, the specific amount of the rates and the payment system to the municipalities are still in the works.
The law for the new fund is based on the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which is to be implemented in national law in this way. The draft still has to go through the Bundestag. The approval of the Federal Council is not required.
Several associations, including the German Retail Association (HDE), criticized the planned cost sharing on Wednesday. Among other things, they advocate that the affected sectors regulate the cost issue among themselves.