Advantages of a deposit system for beverages

In Germany it is unusual selling beverage without a deposit. Wheater can, bottle or a whole crate, the consumer has to pay a deposit at the till, which he will get back when he returns the package. Once returned, the packages are either fed into the recycling process or if not separable used alternatively. There are different ways to process the returned packaging.

  • Refilling – glas bottles can be refilled over 50 times, PET bottles up to 15 times (recycling saves ≈ 85% of CO2 emissions compared to manufacturing „new“ PET-Bottles)
  • One-Way-Deposit – bottles/cans are used once before the material is recycled (recycling alluminium saves ≈95% of CO2 emissions compared to manufacturing „new“ cans)
  • One-Way without deposit – bottles/cans are used once and then thermally converted


The idea of a deposit system has cought on in some European countries to different extents as shown by the graphic below.


According to a LCA (life cycle assessment), refillable packaging is, for a number of reasons, more environmental friendly than One-Way systems. The carried out study concludes that refillable bottles cause 50-60% less greenhouse emissions, compared to One-Way systems.

Considering the amount of packaging waste produced by everyone of us, recycling should play an important role. The recycling of beverage packaging could be a step towards a sustainable society.

Why is the deposit system used in Germany and Scandinavia not implemented in other European countries?

Sources: (Fraunhofer Institut)

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