Germany to introduce single-use plastic levy

Germany to introduce single-use plastic levy

The German government’s environment minister has revealed a new draft law which would introduce a charge on single-use plastic production and raise millions for local litter clean-ups.

Draft law for single-use plastic levy in Germany

It was announced on Wednesday that the German government has supported plans for a manufacturing tariff on single-use plastic. The government intends to use the taxes to support local litter clean-up costs.

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said on Wednesday, “Cigarette butts, bottles, takeaway cups and disposable food containers unfortunately end up on roadsides or in our parks and forests far too often, and are a reflection of the litter crisis." 

"With the new law, we are counteracting the waste of resources and environmental pollution, and at the same time relieving the burden on cities and municipalities,” the Greens member said. "Reusable plastic, not throwaway plastic, is to become the new standard,” she added.

Plastic tariff to hit companies in spring 2025

The government’s plan has its foundations in an EU-wide 2019 order that gives members the authority to hold single-use plastic producers accountable for plastic pollution. So what could Germany’s new single-use plastic levy look like once it is passed into law? 

The Environment Ministry said the tariff would hit first companies in the spring of 2025, and the amount would be set based on the amount of single-use plastic products companies had sold in 2024. 

The German government has already said that from 2023 restaurants and cafes will be required to offer reusable takeaway containers and cups for food and drink, so the plastic levy is an additional measure on top of other German plastic production regulations. Lemke said she was also considering the introduction of a minimum quota for reusable bottles. Many discount companies in Germany are quick to defend their use of plastic bottles as climate friendly or neutral because they are made of recycled PET plastic.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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