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German ‘Pfandsystem’

German pFandsystemBy Yvonne Koch :: When you buy something to drink, normally you don’t think much about it, you drink and then you throw away the bottle. But in the bottles of glass, plastic or in beverage cans there are a lot of technologie, energie and valueable resources inside. So, when you throw it away, you don’t only cover your environment with rubbish, you also loose row materials.

As Germans think a lot about their environment and about nature, they wanted to avoid this waste and started with the ‘Pfandsystem’, a kind of recycling-system, that are trying to offer an incentive to the consumers to recycle their bottles and cans.

For plastic bottles and beverage cans, there is a plendge on each bottle that is returned when the consumer gives the bottle back to the shop: 25 Cents per bottle or can. Even for German consumers that provides enough incentive to bring the bottles back and not to throw it away. (For poor people it is even a possibility to earn some money by collecting thrown bottles from rubbish bins) This system is established since 2003. The bottles and cans are commuted to synthetic granules which can be used for other plastic products again.

For glass bottles there is no regulated system, because these bottles can be used several times. But as glass is also a valuable product, the merchant and the producers have interest to get these bottles back too. In this case, each merchant can decide if he wants to get the bottles back, but normally he does. Generally the plendge for glass bottles is between 8 and 15 Cents.

This recycling-system in Germany is established for 11 years now. And it has an effect until now: The cans out of Aluminum or tinplate have nearly disappeared of the shelves in the shops. Unfortunately, the deposit bottles, like glass bottles, decreased on 50% in the same time.

And for the nature it is a success: every year there are 2-3 Billions of beverage cans and plastic bottles less in the environment. This is a short description about German ‘Pfandsystem’ which has been passed more than twelve years successfully.

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