New requirements for single-use beverage bottles and cans in Germany

1 February 2022


In May last year, the German parliament adopted a set of amendments to the country’s Packaging Law transposing certain requirements of the European Single-Use Plastics Directive into national law. Some of these amendments came into force on 1 January 2022.


The mandatory deposit now applies to all single-use plastic beverage bottles and cans. Exceptions remain only for single-use plastic beverage bottles containing:


  • dietary beverages for infants and children, and
  • milk and mixed milk beverages with at least 50% milk content and other mixed milk products (until the end of 2023).


The obligation for distributors of packaging to keep a record of compliance with their takeback and recovery requirements is also new. This applies for packaging that does not require licensing from and registration with a compliance scheme (such as transport packaging or sales packaging not ending up with final consumers). For this purpose, the packaging placed on the market, taken back and treated must be documented by material type and mass. To assess the accuracy and completeness of this documentation, distributors must establish appropriate self-monitoring mechanisms.


From 1st January 2023, distributors have to offer reusable alternatives for single-use plastic food packaging and single-use beverage cups which are filled at point of sales. These alternatives must not be more expensive than the corresponding single-use packaging. Small businesses with five or fewer employees and a sales area of 80 square metres or less are exempt from this obligation. However, they must offer customers the option of filling goods into reusable containers.


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