German retailers have refused to invest any cash to prepare for a new returns system on drinks cans and bottles until all legal avenues to prevent the move have been explored. Privately, they are also waiting for the election result (in September) before committing any funds to comply with the law. Retailers claim the mandatory 25 cent deposit on one way (non recyclable) cans and bottles to be imposed from January 2003 will cost them E1.3bn in equipment alone, with annual running costs of up to E750m. Metro, Tengelmann, Aldi and Lidl have joined brewers and mineral water companies to lodge an appeal against the law at the Federal Constitution Court, and several EU states are calling for the European Commission to block the move on the grounds it would represent a barrier to trade. A spokesman from German retailers' association HDE said that the law was counterproductive as it would send out the message to consumers that the one way cans and bottles they returned to stores were as environmentally useful as the recyclable ones. {{NEWS }}