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Frequently asked questions:

1.   Which types of packaging are liable for a deposit? What are the exceptions?  Answer
All single-use drink packs are liable for a deposit. Exceptions according to the German Packaging Ordinance are the following ecologically advantageous packs:
gabletop cartons and aseptic brick packs, pouch packs, and stand-up pouch packs.

2.   Which drinks are liable for deposit in the future and which are exempt?  Answer
Since 1st May 2006, the following single-use packaged drinks are liable for deposit (as long as these packs are not classed as ecologically advantageous, see above):
a) Beer
Beer-based drinks including beer mixes. This includes alcohol-free beer, mixes of beer and cola or lemonade, beer and syrup (e.g. “Berliner Weiße mit Schuss”), beer with other alcoholic drinks (e.g. beer with vodka) or aromatic beers (e.g. beer with tequila aroma). These drinks are not required to adhere to the German “Reinheitsgebot” (beer purity laws).
b) Mineral water
All water drinks; therefore carbonated and uncarbonated mineral water, spring water, spa water, table water, and other types of water, for example “near water products” irrespective of additives (flavoured water, water with caffeine or oxygen).
c) Carbonated soft drinks
Carbonated drinks which contain very little or no alcohol. This includes cola and lemonade, plus:
- Fruit juice and carbonated mineral water mixes (e.g. apple spritzer),
- Carbonated sports drinks,
- Carbonated “energy” drinks,
- Carbonated tea or coffee drinks,
- Carbonated “bitter” or other drinks.
d) Uncarbonated soft drinks, such as:
- Fruit juice or tea mixes with uncarbonated water,
- Uncarbonated sports drinks,
- Uncarbonated “energy” drinks,
- Uncarbonated tea or coffee drinks.
e) Alcoholic mix drinks
Drinks produced from:
- products according to para. 130 / 1 of „Gesetzes über das Branntweinmonopol der Branntweinsteuer“
- from alcohol from beer, wine or wine-like products, also in processed form, having undergone technical processing no longer compliant with best manufacturing practice, and with an alcohol content of less than 15 % volume, or
- Drinks which contain a proportion of wine or wine-like products, also in processed form, in ratio less than 50%.
3.   Exempt from deposit are...  Answer
...specifically: pure fruit juices and concentrate-based fruit drinks; pure vegetable juice and concentrate-based vegetable drinks; wine, sekt and spirits; milk drinks with a minimum of 50% milk or milk-derived products; dietetic drinks with the exception of muscle-building drinks. This classification is according to foodstuffs law.
4.   How much is the deposit on single-use packaging?  Answer
5.   Does the so-called „isolated solutions“ still exist?  Answer
The previous Packaging Ordinance allowed certain retailers, for example big discount stores, to restrict their accepted returns to the packaging types, forms, and sizes which they sold. This resulted in the so-called “isolated solutions“ (e.g. Aldi bottles could only be returned to Aldi, Lidl bottles only to Lidl, etc). This regulation was abolished on 1st May 2006. Since then a new rule applies: whoever sells deposit-liable single-use packaging – whatever the material – must take back deposit-liable non-refillable packaging of that same material.
6.   Is there still a special rule for small outlets?  Answer
The special constraints for outlets smaller than 200 m2 have been retained. This enables kiosks and small shops for example, to limit their acceptance of returned deposit-bearing packaging to those particular brands which they sell.
7.   Who is responsible for the nationwide development of the new deposit system?  Answer
The HDE (Hauptverband des deutschen Einzelhandels) and the BVE (Bundesvereinigung der deutschen Ernährungsindustrie) created the DPG (Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH) with its headquarters in Berlin. The development and administration of the DPG-Agreement, and the management of the necessary certification for the security mark and counting centres, as well as the preparation of a customer databank, form part of their fundamental tasks. Details can be viewed on the DPG website. The contact address is:
DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH, Am Weidendamm 1A, 10117 Berlin, E-Mail: info@dpgpfandsystem. de,, Hotline: 01805 - 252 886 (Mo.-Fr., 8:00 until 18:00, 12 cents/min. from the german fixed network).

It should be emphasised that the DPG is not a clearing house for the settlement of accounts from deposit funds itself, it only offers a framework for this. The DPG does not take on or procure any waste disposal services.
8.   How is the DPG deposit system organised?  Answer
The DPG system is basically modular, therefore each participant is able to take on one or more tasks or roles within the whole system, according to their area of interest, function and feasibilty. The two main roles are the so-called initial manufacturers/deposit account holders and the account controllers who between them handle deposit clearance:

· Initial manufacturers/deposit account holders: are usually bottlers or importers who collect deposit funds. They may also commission a service provider to handle the administration of their deposit account.
· Account controllers are all those, who issue the initial manufacturer/deposit account holder with deposit claims. These are usually companies, who organise the return of DPG packaging for themselves or for affiliated companies. Account controllers may also commission a service provider to process claims.
All participants have access to the centralized DPG databank, which holds all relevant information on deposit clearing.
9.   Which organisations can or have to registered with (or be certified by,
      as the case may be) the DPG?
All organisations which bring single-use drink packs into circulation can become initial manufacturers/deposit account holder participants within the DPG system, usually bottlers and importers. Label packaging manufacturers and printers who produce packs/print labels bearing the DPG deposit mark, must be registered themselves colour users with the DPG.

· Essential for all initial manufacturers/deposit account holder participants of the system: they are required to report all company data, and data from the products they market (GTIN code, packaging materials, inhalt, size, weight, color). This data is saved in the central databank, controlled by the DPG.
· Also applicable to participating can manufacturers and label printers: they also have to submit company data to the DPG. Certification from a DPG recognized certification point is required in order to print the security color on a DPG mark. The approved certifier list is available at
· Similarly, participating counting centres are also required to register and be certified by the DPG.
· Participating service providers (deposit account provider, account control service providers) must also receive accreditation from the PDG.
10. Is participation in the DPG system compulsory?  Answer
11. Which companies offer services in the area of the DPG system?  Answer
These companies are listed on the DPG homepage. From our current understanding, this particularly applies to companies who operate generally in the area of waste disposal. A current list can be found on the DPG internet site under “Handel und Industrie” / “Downloads” / “Informationen für Rücknehmer/Forderungssteller“.
12. What does the logo for deposit-liable drinks packaging look like?  Answer
All drinks packaging registered within the DPG system must bear a GTIN code and the DPG safety mark. The GTIN code can be applied for with a company belonging to the GS1-Organisation (see The GTIN code is added in the form of a vertically printed barcode. The DPG security mark has to be separated from the GTIN code via an empty gap and special marker elements which are centrally printed with a special security color.
The manufacturer adds the security mark to the pack. Up until May 2006 this was voluntary. Since 1st May 2006 it has been compulsory. A standardized GTIN code is added below the logo. With this coding, and a databank established with the DPG, it is possible to check the route of packaging from production through to disposal.
13. What needs to be considered with packaging returns?  Answer
It is intended that packaging is returned either by hand (for forwarding to a counting centre) or via an appropriate machine. Where bottles are returned to a reverse-vending machine or counting centre, it is important to check that the bottles are still able to be rotated, which means for example that they should not be pressed flat. The label must still be attached to the bottle. The code reader can cope with light soiling or deformations; heavy soiling and deformation can impair readings however, and can lead to rejection of the bottle.
· Manually returned packaging is collected in special sacks, according to the present single-use-deposit-system (P-System, Intersoh, etc.). The sacks are marked with special labels which show the counting centre from which retail outlet they come. Depending on which alliances the retail outlet has, the sacks are collected by a distributor or service provider, receipt is confirmed, and they are taken to a counting centre. When the sacks have been identified and sorted, the GTIN coding and security mark is checked, the contents counted and the deposit value registered. Finally, the Deposit logo is mechanically removed and the separate scrap materials are sent for recycling. The counting centre forwards the relevant deposit data to the responsible deposit account holder (bottler, importer, contracted service provider).
· Packaging returned to a reverse-vending machine will similarly have its GTIN code and security mark checked, and its deposit value allocated to the return outlet and the deposit account holder. The security mark is then mechanically destroyed. In this case the deposit value is electronically allocated. Whether it is worth installing a reverse-vending machine is dependant on the average amount of packaging returned daily. As a rule, it pays to install a machine when 1000 or more bottles are returned per day. Older machines must be modified in order to correctly read DPG coded packaging.

14. Is proof of waste disposal necessary?  Answer
Manufacturers and retailers are able to commission a waste management company for the removal of single-use packaging and share disposal costs. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry can supply a list of companies offering disposal services. Such companies are also listed in local yellow pages. The reclamation must be documented, and approved by an authorized inspector, and the approval is then logged with the DIHK (German Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
15. How is the deposit value calculated?  Answer
On the basis of the number of empty DPG bottles returned to a machine or counting centre, the account controller claims payment of the appropriate deposit value from the initial manufacturers/deposit account holder
16. What happens to single-use packaging bearing labels from before May 2006?  Answer
All retailers with a sales area larger than 200 m2 selling affected drinks packaging, are obliged to take this packaging back and refund the deposit to the customer. The deposit system operators and discount supermarkets agreed a short-term ruling, whereby the deposit for old packaging would be deducted from the corresponding deposit account holder (bottler, commissioned service provider). However, the conditions require that the old EAN codes are included in the DPG central databank. The DPG intends to offer the latter free of charge. A concerted effort to quickly switch to the new DPG system means that there should be hardly any “old” packs left in stores. If a pack bears no label, then the store can refuse to take it back and refund a deposit on it, since it can be assumed that the pack, for example, comes from abroad.
17. What needs to be taken into account with imported single-use packaging?  Answer
Imported single-use drinks packaging is liable for deposit, the same as packaging filled in Germany. Large importers should be checked to see whether the foreign bottler is registered with the DPG, and whether they can apply the GTIN code and security mark directly to the bottle/label. If this is not possible, the German-based importer is requested to register himself and his products with the DPG, and to apply self-adhesive labels to the imported bottles. These labels can be obtained from the registered DPG service provider.
18. Which rules apply to single-use packaging filled in Germany and then exported?  Answer
Exported packaging is not subject to deposit liability. Only drinks packaging delivered to the end user outside Germany fulfill this criteria. However any single-use drinks packaging purchased by the end user in Germany, is liable for deposit, even if they are taken outside the country directly after purchasing.
19. What does the path of a single-use pack look like
      through the new DPG system? Example shown using a coke can.
The coke can is filled by the C-GmbH. The can is provided with an GTIN code and security mark. The C-GmbH opens a deposit account and registers itself with the DPG central databank. A yearly fee is paid for registration. The level of fee is dependant on the quantity of cans sold per year. The C-GmbH sells the coke cans to drink retailer A. Retailer A has also registered itself with the DPG databank. It too pays a yearly fee of an appropriate sum (according to sales figures). Retailer A charges Consumer B 0.25 euros deposit for the purchased can of coke. This money is paid into the deposit account of the C-GmbH.
Consumer B brings the empty coke can back to Retailer A, who refunds him the deposit. Retailer A takes back the can via a reverse-vending machine or manually. If Retailer A has installed a machine, he must ensure that it can read the GTIN coding and security mark on the can, and save the data electronically. The machine forwards the data to the DPG central databank. The databank records the fact that Retailer A has returned the can. If the retailer accepts the can manually, he is required to commission a service provider to scan the can and forward the data to the DPG. It is important to forward the data quickly and regularly. Only in this way can Retailer A claim the deposit he has refunded to the consumer back from the C-GmbH.
C-GmbH receives notification from the DPG databank that Retailer A has taken the can back. Retailer A is similarly notified that C-GmbH owes him a deposit of 0.25 euros. C is obliged to transfer the funds to A within 10-15 days. The responsibility for correct disposal of the can lies with C-GmbH as much as A. Both have to contribute to the resulting costs. The C-GmbH has commissioned a professional waste management company to dispose of the can. Retailer A therefore gives the can back to C. A and C share the costs.
If the Consumer B returns the can to a different retailer, for example Supermarket E, the process is as follows: Supermarket E also sells single-use packaging, is registered with the DPG, and is obliged to take back cans and to refund deposits. E has installed a reverse-vending machine with the appropriate software. The data from the returned can is forwarded to the DPG. The DPG databank notifies E that the can was filled by the C-GmbH who have a deposit account containing the 0.25 euros. Now E can claim the deposit back from C.

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