Berlin - Following a decision by Coca-Cola to increase its use of disposable bottles in Germany, the Federal Environment Agency said on Sunday it might impose a tax to discourage their use.

“We are not excluding an additional charge on disposable bottles to support the bottle re-use scheme,” agency president Maria Krautzberger told dpa.

Coca-Cola said recently that it intends to increase its use of disposable 500ml and 1.5-litre bottles, which will be made of recyclable material.

Especially the 500ml bottle is used by people on the move so it is rarely returned to the point of purchase and is also not re-filled, Coca-Cola argues.

The environment agency says that re-usable bottles account for 45.7 percent of all drinks sold in Germany. The advantage of these bottles is they are refilled 40 to 50 times, and are therefore more environmentally friendly than single-use bottles.

Krautzberger stressed that re-usable bottles are much better for the avoidance of rubbish.

She also called for lawmakers to hurry up and pass a law requiring clear labelling of reusable and non-reusable bottles.

The head of the government's recycling management department, Thomas Fischer, told dpa that 50 percent of Germans believe that if a bottle has a deposit on it, that it will be re-used, which is not the case.

Sapa-dpa