The German retail lobby was claiming victory this week after the Bundesrat threw out a controversial proposal to impose a mandatory deposit on disposable cans and bottles from January next year. Environment minister Jurgen Trittin provoked a storm of protest from grocery retailers by proposing a mandatory deposit on drinks containers to encourage consumers to return them to stores for disposal or recycling. The move also came in for criticism by other EU member states including the UK on the grounds it would represent a barrier to trade. A spokeswoman for the German retailers' association Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels (HDE) said the Bundesrat's decision threw the whole process back to square one. "Basically, the whole procedure starts again and all questions are still open." As a founder member of the all German Trade Federation, HDE is backing alternative proposals by regional parliaments from Bavaria and Hesse to tackle litter whereby penalties would be imposed on manufacturers if they fail to package a certain quota of drinks in environmentally friendly materials. Under the scheme, backed by Metro, Edeka, Aldi, Rewe, Globus, Lidl, Tengelmann and Spar, retailers would also contribute DM250m a year to pay for recycling and waste disposal initiatives. Metro said the Bundesrat rejection was a victory for common sense and the consumer, who would have footed the bill if Trittin's proposal had become law. "The important thing is to get a new law on the statute books ­ this is not going to go away and we don't know what Trittin will do. He has said he will decide in two weeks whether to resurrect an earlier law or work with us." Metro is a founding member of a new foundation to promote green packaging set up on July 19. {{NEWS }}