For which one-way beverage packaging do you have to pay a deposit?

The German Packaging Act (VerpackG) regulates which packaging requires payment of a deposit. In principle, all one-way beverage packaging with a filling volume of 0.1 to 3 litres requires a deposit of at least 0.25 euro.

One-way beverage packaging such as glass and PET bottles or cans for beer, soft drinks and all kinds of water requires payment of a deposit.

You can find an overview of deposit-obligatory one-way beverage packaging for orientation purposes here.


For which one-way beverage packaging do you not have to pay a deposit?

According to the German Packaging Act, beverage carton packaging, beverage polyethylene tubular bag packaging and foil stand-up pouches are exempt from deposit payment requirements. Particularly small one-way beverage packaging - less than 0.1 litres filling volume - and large one-way beverage packaging of more than 3 litres filling volume are exempt from a deposit.


What exactly will change with the extension of the one-way beverage deposit to cover fruit juices and nectars from 2022?

From 1 January 2022, juices and nectars in one-way beverage packaging, for example, will also require a deposit payment. BUT: if the retailer still has packaging on the shelf or warehouse that does not yet bear the DPG deposit logo and which was obtained from his supplier without paying a deposit, the beverage packaging can still be sold without a deposit. This transitional regulation applies until 1 July 2022 and is intended to prevent remaining stocks without a deposit logo having to be destroyed. In many shops, customers will find both for a maximum of 6 months: e.g. fruit juices with and without one-way deposit.


Is the deposit amount for one-way beverage packaging the same?

The German Packaging Act prescribes a minimum deposit of 0.25 euro including VAT for all one-way beverage packaging requiring a deposit payment. The legislature does not provide for any differentiation, e.g. either according to the size or contents of the packaging.


Which features can be used to reliably distinguish one-way bottles from reusable bottles?

All beverage manufacturers who participate in the DPG system label their one-way beverage packaging, which requires a deposit payment, with the DPG Logo “permanently, clearly legibly and in a clearly visible place”.

This indicates quickly and reliably that the respective packaging is a one-way beverage packaging that requires a deposit payment, for which a 0.25 euro deposit will be reimbursed.


How can you tell whether a Reverse Vending Machine accepts one-way and/or reusable bottles?

As a rule, Reverse Vending Machines that accept one-way and reusable bottles have a lower input shaft for bottle crates. When customers return one-way and reusable bottles to the machine, the empty bottle receipt shows how many bottles have been reimbursed and at what deposit amount. As a rule, a deposit of 8 or 15 cents per bottle is reimbursed for reusable bottles, and 0,25 euro for one-way packaging.


What restrictions apply to the return of one-way beverage packaging?

In general, empty one-way beverage packaging may be returned in almost all grocery stores and beverage markets nationwide. Restrictions on returns may apply if customers want to return one-way beverage packaging - e.g. a metal can - to a retailer who does not sell beverages in metal cans. The retailer is only required to accept one-way beverage packaging of the type of material that he himself has on offer. Retailers with small sales areas are also not required to accept everything back. In this case, the following applies: the retailer must collect those beverage brands that he also sells.


Which body / authority can a consumer turn to if the retailer refuses to take my packaging back?

In case of problems in returning packaging, consumers can contact the respective local waste authorities of the respective federal state. These are, for example, the local regulatory authorities or the environmental agencies.


Why is one-way beverage packaging destroyed in the Reverse Vending Machine?

All DPG packaging that is returned via the Reverse Vending Machine must be compressed and reduced in size immediately (compacting). On the one hand, this ensures that the returned packaging, for which the consumer is refunded his deposit, cannot be returned again to receive an additional deposit refund. In addition, the empty packaging is made more space-saving and easier to transport.


What happens to the empty one-way beverage packaging returned via retailers?

Every retailer who accepts empty one-way beverage packaging that is subject to the mandatory deposit from the consumer must recycle the empty packaging in accordance with the German Packaging Act. The aim is to improve the circular economy: it should be possible to re-use as high and increasing the proportion of empty packaging as possible in the production of new packaging.

The company is responsible for recycling; the DPG does not regulate this.


What do you need to do if you want to return large quantities of one-way beverage packaging to a retailer?

Most retailers can also deliver larger quantities of DPG packaging without any problems. In some exceptional circumstances, e.g. after a party, the consumer may wish to return very large quantities of empty packaging, then it may be worthwhile arranging a return time slot with the retailer that is favourable for both parties. This avoids queues at the Reverse Vending Machine.