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Germany: Grocery Shopping Experience to Change in 2022

The new year is only hours away, and it will bring along new rules. For once, this is not about the Coronavirus, but about supermarket bags, bottles and stamps.

Berlin, December 31st, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — How many twos can a year have? How about three of them? We will have to wait exactly 200 years, until the year 2222, for a year with four twos, and 20,200 years for one with five. Yes, that is a long time. Almost as long as the time we spend waiting in line at the cash register when we shop at our local supermarket. At Aldi, Lidl, Netto, Penny, Edeka, Norma and Rewe and all other grocery shops, some things are about to change. No, not in the year 22222, and not in 2222, but in 2022.

Juicy Sushi

Aldi has the inexpensive frozen Pizza Hawaii, but no fresh lactose-free milk. Rewe offers freshly made Sushi which could not be more juicy, considering it is a supermarket product, but it is not exactly a low cost place. Kaufland offers pretty much everything, but it can take a year to walk through those huge stores of theirs. Netto sells this great, cooled apple juice in plastic bottles and cheap hygiene products, but no proper rice. So, there is always a reason to go to more than one supermarket.

Then, once it finally is our turn at the cash register, we throw our items into those paper bags many retailers offer these days, even though we know the weight of the Ravioli cans and milk we purchased will rip the bag apart at the next corner. Oh, so they still offer plastic bags at some supermarket? Yes, they do, but not for long. Those regular plastic bags are forbidden from January 1st, 2022, for obvious reasons. But heavy duty plastic bags which cost more and can be used several times, will still be available.

Thrown Overboard

Let’s go back 114 words. In the paragraph before last, we mentioned fresh apple juice they sell at Netto, and at Lidl too, by the way. Those plastic bottles it comes in are not returnable, meaning nobody will return any deposit for them to anyone in the next few hours. But most exceptions for fresh juice or smoothie bottles are being thrown overboard. All bottles will have to become deposit bottles, except for the ones which hold more than 3 liters of juice and those which contain milk or liquor. This is the second new rule for 2022 in Germany.

Once we hit the street with those heavy shopping bags, we notice we forgot to go to the post office first. So, we have to take all of this stuff there, just to purchase a few stamps. At least they will not make our bags much heavier, but the content of our wallets will be shrinking faster. That is because Germany’s postage is increasing. From Monday, January 3rd, 2022, the first day post offices are scheduled to open in the new year, Deutsche Post will be charging more.

Licking Stamps

Sending away a postcard will be 0.70 Euro, which is 10 Euro Cents more. Stamps for standard letters are 0.85, which is an increase of 5 Cents. What the Germans call ‘Compact Letters’ will be 1 Euro, and sending off larger letters will cost a little more too. The same applies to certified mail of different kinds. Here, the postage price increases by 15 Euro Cents.

So, in summary, there will be more deposit bottles, less plastic bags and more postage for those who still lick stamps in the age of e-mails and online chats.

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