Bottle deposit system in Germany

Germany has had a deposit system for bottles for many years. A distinction is made between disposable bottles (e.g. PET bottles and cans), which are only filled once and are returned to around 40,000 return machines after use, and reusable bottles, which are returned to the filler, cleaned and refilled. But even disposable bottles and cans do not simply end up in the rubbish. After being returned, they are recycled and reused. The deposit system contributes to resource conservation and climate protection and avoids careless throwing away of bottles in nature.

The deposit value depends on the type of bottle and can

  •     Returnable glass beer bottle (all sizes) => 8 cents
  •     Returnable beer bottle with swing stopper => 15 cents
  •     Returnable mineral water bottle (glass or PET) => 15 cents* (sometimes 25 cents)
  •     Returnable bottles for juice or soft drinks => 15 cents
  •     some 1.0 litre wine bottles => 2 or 3 cents
  •     all one-way bottles and cans => 25 cents

But there are also bottles without a deposit. You can tell whether bottles and cans have a deposit or not by looking at the signs ("Pfandflasche", or "Flaschenpfand") or symbols on the bottle.

How the bottle deposit system works

  •     When you buy a bottle or can, the bottle deposit is charged at the checkout and shown on the receipt.
  •     You can return the bottle or can to one of the many vending machines in supermarkets or directly to the beverage retailer.
  •     Once you have thrown all the bottles and cans into the reverse vending machine, you press a button for the receipt with the deposit credit or receive it directly at the beverage store.
  •     The receipt is handed in at the cash desk and the deposit is refunded.
  •     ATTENTION: The voucher can only be redeemed at the place where you received it. It is often stated that the receipt can only be refunded on the same day. If you forget to hand in your receipt at the checkout, the supermarket may not accept it the next day.

Therefore, do not throw bottles or cans carelessly into the rubbish - you will lose money!

Here you can find detailed information on the German bottle and can deposit system.

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