"Often one sees the contrary and even the toothpaste tube is packaged. We need lots more reusability, not only with [bottled] mineral water and beer," said Krautzberger.
"A coffee can also be purchased in a reusable mug. Whoever consumes takeaway food should also be able to do so in reusable containers," she urged.
Given Germany's 23% surge in packaging usage since 2000, the UBA president said switching to other materials was "usually not sufficient."
Germany's recycling quota at 70% was, however, described as "good" by her agency — referring to household and industrial-scale methods widely utilized across Germany to sort and separate waste into its original components.
Plastics and wood still problematic
Recycling glass, paper, and steel worked well but recovery of plastics and wood fibers, including those in laminates, at 50% and 26% respectively, were still problematic, said the UBA.
Aluminum recycling had a seemingly high quota at 87%, the UBA added, but in terms of pure aluminum recovered it lay only between 30% and 40%.
Germany's amended Packaging Law, effective from January 2019, sets out to improve recycling and reusability of materials and containers.