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ingo collecting returnable bottle

The German government of Gerhard Schröder introduced a law requiring that most alcoholic beverages must have a deposit on the bottle, which will be payed back when returning the bottle. Up to then, only reusable bottles had a deposit, not single-use ones. Some bottles (like wine and sparkling wine) still don't have a deposit, other beverages like small soda-alcohol mix bottles are covered by the Grüner Punkt system. (Yes, recycling in Germany is complicated.) Beer bottles yield €0.07, aluminium cans and plastic bottles yield €0.25.

ingo showing returnable bottles

And here's the point: Even though most Germans complain about their economic situation and rising prices, hardly anybody seems to care about the deposit which is on the bottles. Many bottles are disposed of in trash cans or simply thrown away. In the summertime, my hometown Herrenberg is filled with cyclists, hikers and young people, who leave bottles everywhere. When I go for a walk, or cycle to work, I usually spot one or more bottles lying beside the road; which I pick up and take home. To me, this has many benefits:


Ingo Karkat, Jul-2005