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GERMANY: ECJ rules packaging law illegal

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Germany's controversial drinks packaging return system may have to be shelved, after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled it illegal.

Judges said by giving the drinks industry only six months to prepare for the introduction in January 2003 of mandatory deposits on non-reusable mineral water, beer and soft drinks packaging, it broke rules guaranteeing European Union free trade.

A particular problem has been that retailers are naturally unwilling to accept bottles and cans of products that they do not themselves sell, so the court also ruled the scheme illegal by failing to provide enough collection points. It should ensure "consumers…can recover the deposit even if they do not go back to the initial place of purchase," said the ruling.


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