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Used paper shortage creates cardboard crisis

A shortage of used paper in Germany is forcing cardboard prices to skyrocket and having a dramatic affect on the entire packaging industry, a media report said on Tuesday.

Used paper shortage creates cardboard crisis
Photo: DPA

According to recycling and waste management news service Euwid, the price of mixed used paper jumped from €2.50 per tonne last year to €85 per tonne this March, daily Financial Times Deutschland reported. Meanwhile some businesses are paying up to €120 per tonne for used paper that is immediately available.

“It is conceivable that it will come to a supply shortfall,” head of Karl Knauer cardboard product producer Richard Kammerer warned the newspaper.

Other industry professionals said getting their hands on the material they once took for granted is becoming increasingly difficult, and the problem is set to reach companies from online delivery to department store chains and name brand companies.

And while Kammerer said delivery times have gone up by six to reach 12 weeks in some cases, packaging producers already raised their prices by about 10 percent in March, with another increase of between five and 10 percent expected this summer.

According to the newspaper, the sector was simply not prepared for an increase in demand following the financial crisis when cardboard producers cut back on production.

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Checklist: What you need to know when leaving Germany for good

Permanently departing Deutschland? Use this handy checklist to see what you need to do next to successfully leave the country - and bureaucracy - behind.

Checklist: What you need to know when leaving Germany for good
A flight taking off near Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Housing

If you’ve been renting your flat in Germany, let your landlord know in advance that you’re leaving. The majority of contracts require this at least three months in advance.

Don’t forget renovation works (so-called ‘Schönheitsreparaturen’) that might have been included in your contract as well. Make sure you discuss with your landlord to determine when you can expect to receive your deposit back. Unfortunately there is no legal maximum timeline for them to return this to you. However, in general, four weeks after you’ve vacated the flat is reasonable.

If you live in a shared flat (WG) check with your flatmates how your leaving impacts the contract. Sometimes, landlords will allow you to have a sub-rental situation, or someone to replace you. In this case, a termination notice template found here will be useful.

Right before you leave, do the last repairs on your flat or home if they’re included in your tenancy contract.

When you leave, take a picture of the utility’s meters, such as gas, electricity and water, to prove your consumption to your supplier and/or landlord. Make sure you inspect the place, with the landlord if possible, and return the key. Your landlord should sign a paper during the handover confirming that the place is in order and that all the key copies have been returned.

READ ALSO: The things you need to watch out for when you move house in Germany

Bills

In advance to leaving, you should get in contact with your electricity and gas suppliers to terminate your contracts. You can use this termination template. 

Don’t forget to terminate all other contracts you may be responsible for, including electricity, internet, phone, water, other insurances as well as recreational things such as your gym membership or any other club memberships. Make sure you start planning three months in advance, as some memberships may have notice periods.

Most internet contracts are for long term periods, and you may need to bring your Abmeldung  (more on this down below) to prove that you are leaving the country for good and need to terminate the contract. Customers who move away are covered by this law: TKG-Novelle §46 VIII and are allowed to cancel their contract outside of the minimum duration with a three month notice period if moving country. This termination letter template is applicable to internet providers and this one for mobile providers.

If you have any subscriptions you do want to keep up, such as streaming subscriptions, make sure to update your address and payment details as well as making any other changes.

For your post you can set up a post forwarding contract with the Deutsche Post here to make sure you don’t miss any important letters once you’re in your new home. A standard forwarding service lasts a year, with the option of extension for an extra cost.

Photo: DPA

Job

Let your employer know in advance that you are leaving the company and where the last salary should be paid .  A termination notice template in German can be found here  

Insurance

Get in touch with your insurance company/broker in advance to terminate your policies. For healthcare insurance talk to your provider to determine if there is a way to transfer rights for your pension, you may decide to let the German system hold onto it for you.

Tax

Check your situation as a taxpayer. If you leave Germany permanently and don’t return to live for more than 183 days a year its likely you won’t be taxable in Germany anymore. This however doesn’t stand if you have property or assets that generate income in Germany or if you do return for more than 183 days a year.

Check with your tax advisor (Steuerberater) if you have any other questions. You are able to submit a tax return after leaving Germany.

Get in touch with the GEZ and inform them that you are moving. You can use this termination notice letter template to stop paying the Rundfunkbeitrag (TV tax).

If you’re self-employed make sure you let the Finanzamt know that you are leaving the country. This form is applicable for Berlin.

Unemployment benefits

If you are eligible for unemployment benefits in Germany it may be possible to transfer those benefits to your new country’s system. This is especially doable if you are movable to another country within the EU.

 Pension contributions refund

If you have worked in Germany for less than five years and are not an EU citizen you can get a refund on your pension contributions. You can find a step by step guide on the process of how to do this here. 

Bank account

Let your bank know that you are departing and book an appointment if needed. Make sure to cash out any remaining money in your accounts if you don't plan on coming back.

Furniture

Plan what you’re going to sell and what you will keep. Sites such as Ebay Kleinanzeigen are a handy resource to sell or give away your things. Also check Facebook groups.

If you want to hold on to your furniture, you can book a moving company to move the stuff you want to keep.

De-register

Just like when you first came to Germany you registered with your address, you must also de-register when you leave. You can fill out an ‘Abmeldung’ form which you'll find at your local Bürgeramt or online. It can also be done via post. You have a maximum of two weeks after leaving Germany to de-register your address.

Say goodbye

If you’re leaving Germany you’ll want to say goodbye to any friends you’ve made here, and enjoy your favourite spots one last time. But don't be a stranger – you'll be welcome back any time.

Tschüss and bis bald!

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