“Good” and “bad” packs are based on perception rather than fact said INCPEN director Jane Bickerstaffe in response to plans by the German Government to introduce legislation that distinguishes between ‘ecologically favourable and unfavourable’ single-trip drinks packs. The proposal excludes wine, spirits and dietetic drinks.

The aim of the legislation is to ensure that refillable and ecologically favourable drinks account for at least 80% of all German drinks packs by the end of 2006.

There are no environmental grounds for favouring one type of packaging per se over another, argues Ms Bickerstaffe. “An environmentally responsible pack is the one that protects its contents from point of production to point of consumption with minimum use of materials and energy, while generating the least amount of waste from product and pack.”