A German court on Friday upheld the right of local authorities to charge a special tax on disposable packaging - a symbolic victory for environmentalists trying to tackle Germany's growing waste mountain.
The federal administrative court in Berlin said towns and municipalities could force snack bar owners to pay a special local tax on paper plates, plastic forks and tin cans used on their premises.The court agreed local authorities had enough powers under Germany's constitution to raise such a tax, especially if its main purpose was "to avoid litter."
The surprise ruling is a victory for the town of Kassel, which has been charging snack bars a packaging tax since 1992, the only municipality to do so.
And it is a big blow to the parties who appealed the levy: two managers of restaurants belonging to the McDonalds' chain and two firms that install soft drink vending machines.
It is bound to send shock waves through Germany's fast food industry, as local governments follow Kassel's lead and themselves levy similar taxes on packaging.