Magazine article The Futurist

Germany's "Package Deal." (Trash Recycling) (Environment)

Magazine article The Futurist

Germany's "Package Deal." (Trash Recycling) (Environment)

Article excerpt

New law makes companies pick up their own trash

A new recycling law in Germany--Europe's leading trash producer--may be a model for other national programs to reduce waste from product packaging.

The first step of a three-step law took effect at the end of 1991, requiring manufacturers and distributors to take back the cartons and crates in which they ship their products to retailers. The second step, which became effective in April 1992, requires recycling of product packaging. The law allows customers to leave outer packages, such as the cardboard boxes that their tubes of toothpaste come in, behind at the store. The third step, starting January 1, 1993, will require even the tube to be recycled after the toothpaste is all squeezed out.

The goal of the recycling law, the first of its kind in Europe and perhaps one of the most comprehensive such laws in the world, is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills or burned in incinerators. But obstacles such as how to collect the packaging and what to do with it after it's collected have proved challenging. And critics of the law have been vocal, both within Germany and among its European Community neighbors, reports Tomorrow, a Swedish environmental magazine. …

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