Dispute breaks out in Tübingen over tax on disposable packaging


A row erupted in Tübingen after fast food company McDonald’s filed a complaint against a new tax imposed by the German city on disposable food packaging.

New tax on disposable packaging in Tübingen

Since the beginning of the year, all businesses in Tübingen that offer takeaway food – including restaurants, cafes, snack bars, bakeries, butchers, cinemas, petrol stations and kiosks – are required to pay a tax of 50 cents plus VAT on all disposable products. packaging. The revenue is used to offset the approximately 700,000 euros the city has to spend each year to clean the city’s trash cans and streets.

The vast majority of businesses in Tübingen have lined up, but one big one doesn’t play ball: McDonald’s. The Tübingen branch of the American giant is suing the city administration in the local court in Mannheim, questioning whether the city is entitled to collect the tax.

DUH accuses McDonalds of sabotaging climate protection

McDonald’s attempt to avoid the tax has not gone down well in some quarters, with Environmental Action Germany (DUH) being particularly vocal in its criticism. In a statement delivered by DUH chief executive Jürgen Resch, the organization called McDonald’s a “saboteur”, saying that by taking legal action in Tübingen, McDonald’s is blocking the urgent shift to environmentally friendly reusable alternatives. environment and climate. DUH also criticized the company’s business conduct and its unwillingness to commit to change for the future of the environment.

Resch, together with the mayor of Tübingen, Boris Palmer (Greens), presented several sustainable packaging designs that McDonald’s uses abroad in countries such as the United Kingdom and France, saying that the company has the ability to switch to recyclable or reusable packaging.

In response, McDonald’s asked the German government to come up with a uniform national framework, rather than a regional framework, as seen in the case of Tübingen. The company argues that by having special laws in certain regions, the government stands in the way of a successful and workable national concept, which is why it supports the lawsuit brought by the owner of McDonald’s Tübingen.

The owner of the Tübingen branch has declared that he agrees to be responsible for contributing to the conservation of resources and the reduction of packaging waste, but he considers the regional packaging tax to be disproportionate and therefore opposes the law.

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