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Germany's new packaging laws: the 'Green Dot' arrives.

The new German laws which will regulate the management and recycling of packaging waste are to be introduced in three phases:

1. As of December 1, 1991, manufacturers and distributors were required to accept all returned transportation packaging. This category of packaging includes items such as crates, drums, pallets, and styrofoam containers.

2. Effective April 1, 1992, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were obliged to accept all returned secondary packaging, including cardboard boxes, blister packs, etc. Secondary packaging is defined as being that which is designed to prevent theft, for vending machine applications and for promotional purposes.

3. January 1, 1993 will see the introduction of the obligation of retailers, distributors, and manufacturers to accept returned sales packaging. This category embraces all types of packaging necessary to contain and transport goods up to the point of sales or consumption. This will include cans, plastic containers for dairy products, foil wrapping, and styrofoam and cardboard packages. At the same time, a deposit regulation for disposable drink packages will be introduced.

The requirement to take back sales packaging will not apply to those manufacturers who have elected to participate in the "green dot" program, which requires the regular collection of used packaging materials either directly from the consumer's domicile of from designated local collections points. This exemption, however, applies only to sales packaging and not to secondary or transport packaging. Qualification for the green dot waiver depends on the system implemented meeting prescribed quotas for collection and recycling.

The Green Dot

The green dot is the symbol which has been adopted by the Duales System Deutschland GmBH (DSD - Dual System of Germany), a corporation established in September 1990, with over 400 participating companies (shareholders), including some U.S.-owned firms. The DSD collects a fee from the participating manufacturers for the right to display the green dot symbol on their products. The revenue thus generated will be used to finance, on a non-profit basis, local packaging waste collection and recycling programs, already well under way. The green dot indicates to the consumer that such packaging may not be returned to the retail outlet but should, instead, be consigned to specially dedicated collection containers or be taken to the local recycling center. Furthermore, by displaying the green dot symbol on the product packaging, the manufacturer indicates that this packaging will be recycled or reused rather than dumped or incinerated.

Goods retailed without the green dot are not illegal. What is likely to happen, however, is that the market retailers, wholesalers, and importers will not accept packaged goods for retail shelves without the green dot. The DSD estimates that over 10 billion units currently being marketed in Germany carry the green dot.
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Title Annotation:environmental policy to regulate use and reuse of packaging waste
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Words:447
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