Metro chief executive Hans Joachim Koerber has slammed controversial government plans to introduce stringent new laws to tackle waste packaging in Germany. He joins a growing list of German retailers bitterly opposed to proposals to impose a deposit of 0.25 euros on most cans and disposable bottles from January next year (The Grocer, June 9, p18). Retailers would have to return the deposits, collect and sort the cans/bottles, take them to a collection point and ensure they are disposed of according to government requirements. Leaders from Germany's regional parliaments have already succeeded in postponing a vote on the plans in the Bundesrat to give industry representatives more time to come up with an alternative. Speaking at Metro's agm Koerber said: "We consider this measure economic and ecological nonsense." On top of heavy start up costs, running the system would lead to an "annual cost burden of 700m euros". "Retailers cannot bear this burden alone. They will be forced to pass a large part of the costs onto customers." Moreover, instead of helping the environment, he said it would simply lead to an accelerated decline in returnables' share of the market. A spokesman said retailers' money would be better spent on contributing to a government led initiative to clean up the streets of all litter. Bavarian environment minister Werner Schnappenauf said consumers "could start thinking that the drinks cans they return to stores are as environmentally useful as returnable bottles". The Bavarian government said manufacturers should be encouraged to package drinks in an environmentally friendly manner instead. Metro claimed Germany could even be sued by Brussels if it pressed ahead with the scheme as other EU states including the UK felt it could have a negative impact on trading relationships. {{NEWS }}