The first time Denise and I went on a family trip in Germany, my Dad kept asking for her empty plastic bottles, which he dropped into his gigantic book bag and carried for the rest of the day.
When she said, "You're Dad is really into recycling! Why doesn't he just use the recycling bins around the city?" I had to laugh.
To promote recycling, in 2003 the ever-clever, thrifty Germans implemented a container deposit legislation, also known as Pfand [pronounced pf‿ant]. If you buy a single-use container in form of a can of soda or a water in a plastic bottle, you will pay a €0.25 deposit, which will be refunded when you bring the container back to a supermarket or shop.
When you throw that bottle away, you're also throwing away your €0.25. The deposit legislation does not cover containers for juice, milk-products, wine, spirits, or liquors. Look for the black and white symbol of the bottle and can with the arrow, see the image above for an example.