The European Commission will not decide whether to challenge Germany's controversial packaging recycling law until October 22, officials said today.

"The Commission needs more time to get information about this case," an official told Dow Jones newswire.

The law levies a deposit on non-refillable beer and soft drinks packaging, which has to be redeemed by the retailers.

Apart from the domestic discontent the law has caused since its introduction, the EC believes it amounts to a trade barrier to foreign producers, who hold a major share of the market for non-reusable packages. The EC also argued that moving reusable bottles back and forth from another country isn't commercially viable or environmentally friendly.

However, on Monday, EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein and German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin discussed the issue and have reportedly narrowed their differences.

Beginning today, the law has also changed. From now on, customers are no longer obliged to return the used packages to the store where they bought the drink. Instead, retailers must, from now, accept the returns even if they were bought somewhere else.

It is hoped this will make it easier from customers to purchase the bottles.