Since 2022, almost all beverage cans and non-returnable plastic bottles have had to go back to the deposit machine if you don’t want to lose the 25 cents you paid for when you bought them. Starting next year, the rule will change again – because an exception that previously applied to beverages containing milk will no longer apply.

Beverages with a milk content of at least 50 percent, such as cocoa or drinking yoghurt in plastic bottles, are affected. Concrete examples would be Müller Milch, Acitmel or Kefir. Naturally, this means that products in plastic bottles are 25 cents more expensive. The deposit rule does not apply when it comes to Tetra Paks. Surprisingly, some energy drinks are also affected, which previously remained free of deposit due to a high whey content.

As the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland” reports, the reason is a gradual expansion of the packaging law, which provides for changes up to and including 2030. The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center welcomes the move. A spokesman for the RND said: “Consumers are currently still standing in front of the deposit machines and have to realize that bottles and certain cans are not accepted. The new regulations are a great simplification.”

However, the step does not go far enough for the German Environmental Aid. In the media report, the consumer protection organization criticizes the fact that a deposit is also needed for the Tetra Paks in question in order to achieve the reusable quota targets. The environmental experts are generally critical of single-use containers and are therefore calling for a so-called incentive tax of 20 cents to make reusables more attractive. Such a levy is intended to change the behavior of retailers and consumers.

The German Retail Association (HDE) was also critical of the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland”. However, not because the rules do not go far enough – but because the type of liquid is viewed critically. According to the trade association, there are hygiene risks with drinks containing milk. “Because milk products curdle, there are often larger residues in the containers than with water, beer or juices. This poses a risk of contamination, especially in stores where the return stations are located in the entrance area,” explained the HDE Managing Director for Sustainability , Antje Gerstein.

For consumers, according to the RND, the upcoming change is initially the last change in the course of the new packaging law. This was mainly followed by new requirements for retailers and manufacturers, for example with regard to the recyclable plastic content in PET disposable beverage bottles.