Recycle plan faces tough ride in German upper house
BERLIN - A sweeping can and bottle recycling proposal, seen as setting a precedent for other European countries, faces an uncertain passage through Germanys upper house, the Bundesrat, today.
Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, a member of the junior coalition partner the Greens, wants to impose a deposit of between 0.25 and 0.5 euro cents on all non-recyclable beverage packaging, excluding wine bottles but crucially including soft drink cans, from next year.
Opposition senators and some members of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) have called for drinks manufacturers to be allowed to monitor their own recycling efforts rather than be subjected to Trittins stringent deposit system.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is expected to meet SPD senators yesterday evening to urge their support for Trittins proposals in the Bundesrat. They have already passed by a large majority in the lower house.
Industry analysts have said that if Germany goes ahead with the plan, other European countries could follow suit.
Norwegian bottle and can recycling company Tomra , a leader in making machines that repay a deposit when customers return a bottle or can for recycling, is expected to benefit should the law be given the green light.
The German Drinks Federation, however, has attacked Trittins proposals which they say will cost more than two billion marks ($873.4 million) for a returns system.
Opposition senators and some SPD members would prefer a self-regulating system in which drinks manufacturers produce reusable packaging for at least 21.5 billion litres worth of drinks.
If Trittins proposals are not passed by the upper house, a deposit system agreed under the previous government will come into effect from 2002. That system does not cover soft drinks and falls far short of what environmentalists are demanding.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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