McDonald’s wins case against Tübingen packaging tax


After months of legal dispute, the administrative court in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, has ruled that Tübingen’s controversial tax on take-out packaging is invalid, after a branch of McDonald’s sued the city after the introduction of the tax.

The tax was intended to reduce waste

The tax, which aimed to reduce waste and stop the use of disposable plastics such as cutlery, straws and food containers, was ruled ineffective by the court on March 30.

The law had stipulated that the international company had to pay 50 cents for each disposable plate or cup distributed, and 20 cents per disposable company piece. McDonald’s argued that it was a disproportionate measure and that its regional implementation would be unfair.

Disposable packaging is expensive for municipalities

Single-use plastics are expensive for German cities in terms of collection, disposal and litter. In the specific case of Tübingen, processing disposable packaging costs the city around 700,000 euros every year, money that local authorities say could be better spent on things like infrastructure or maintenance.

The city had justified its tax by asking the source of the problem to pay the waste disposal costs, according to the city of Tübingen’s website. The city could now bring an action against the decision of the court in Mannheim before the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has already authorized the adoption of the initial law.

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