Experience Germany Like a Local

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​WAIT! Before you throw that plastic bottle away...

Wait! Before you throw that plastic bottle away, read this! • German Travel by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

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.

Cashing in Your Containers
In smaller shops, visit the clerk at the counter to return your bottle and collect your deposit. Careful though, small shops only accept the bottles of vendors and sizes of bottles which are carried at that shop.When returning at large-chain shops look for reverse vending machines that print a receipt. The receipt can be exchanged for cash or used against a purchase.
So the next time you see someone toting a collection of empty plastic bottles in their book bag you’ll know they don’t have a hoarding problem, they just want their deposit back! Do you think legislation like that would work where you live? Do you have something similar? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler