Economic and ecological transformation costs of mandatory reuse requirements

According to the German Packaging Act, the target for reusable beverage packaging is 70%. With a recent figure of 43.1%, this target is still far from being met, and political targets for increasing the proportion of reusable packaging are increasingly becoming the focus of public debate.

Against this background, DIW Econ, commissioned by Schwarz Produktion Stiftung & Co. KG, DIW Econ estimated the ecological and financial transformation costs that would arise if political measures were introduced to increase the proportion of reusable beverage packaging.

For this purpose, both primary data from the Schwarz Group and secondary data from numerous publicly available sources were evaluated. The analyses are carried out in several scenarios, ranging from lower (minimum scenario) to stronger policy requirements (maximum scenario).

In the minimum scenario with a simple offer and take-back obligation, the transformation costs amount to 559,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and approximately 1.5 billion euros. In a maximum scenario with a legal redemption rate of 70% in all segments of the food market in combination with the offer and take-back obligation, DIW Econ calculates a burden of up to 6.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent and up to 11.2 billion euros.

The transformation costs arise along the processing steps of the deposit systems: Branches and logistics centers would have to be expanded, additional trucks would have to be purchased to handle the increased logistics of reusable systems, and deposit machines would have to be converted.

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