Trittin draws electoral veil over can deposits
The German government is pushing back the planned introduction of deposits on one-way drinks containers from this September to 1 January 2003, the environment ministry said today. The move is clearly designed to minimise the chances of political fallout from the measure at September\'s national elections.
Drinks pack deposits have been firmly on the cards since last month when retailers and other industry groups lost a legal appeal against the government\'s intention to move in this direction. However, initial indications were that the measure would be in force by this autumn (ED 26/02/02).
Under law, deposits must be introduced six months after official publication of data showing that the market share of refillable drinks containers has fallen below a 72% benchmark. Environment minister Jürgen Trittin is now to delay publication of the crucial second year\'s data until July.
At this point, official data will be released for two twelve-month periods roughly corresponding to 1999 and 2000. The first will confirm breaches first recorded in 1997 of the \"refill quota\" for beer and mineral water, while the second will mark a second official breach for carbonated soft drinks packaging. Together, this will enable the government to introduce one-way container deposits simultaneously for all three classes of drinks.
In a statement on the decision, the environment ministry made no mention of September\'s elections. A decision on timing was being made now, it said, to give the drinks and retail industries time to prepare for deposits.
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