If there is a consent on the circular economy, it is probably this: Re-use is always better than recycling. The classic example of this: A reusable glass bottle causes 55g less CO2 emissions per liter of water than a disposable PET bottle. That may not sound like much. However, when converted to consumption in Germany as a whole, it means that 1.25 million metric tons of CO2 could be saved in non-alcoholic beverages alone if we were to abandon disposables altogether. Or, to put it in even less abstract terms: an amount equivalent to the CO2 emissions of 570,000 passenger cars traveling 15,000 kilometers per year.
There is, however, a catch to this calculation. Germany is a long way from distributing all glass bottles via reusable systems. The reusable rate is currently 41%. For other types of packaging, there is still much more room for improvement.