The interface

The German Packaging Act (previously the Packaging Ordinance), which has been in force since 2019, stipulates that a deposit must be levied on single-use beverage packaging. In order to establish the necessary processes, the trade and food industry associations - the German Retail Association (HDE) and the Federal Association of the German Food Industry (BVE) - founded DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH in 2005. Its goal: The establishment of a completely new one-way deposit system through which a smooth deposit cycle can be implemented. Not only beverage manufacturers and importers (First Distributors) as well as retailers and other end distributors (collectors) are involved, but also the manufacturers of Reverse Vending Machines for the return of empty beverages, Sorting Plants, highly specialised Users DPG Ink and Clearing Service Providers for the organisation of the deposit cycle. This creates a network that makes the DPG System unique.

Achieving more together

For the marketing of one-way beverage packaging, a deposit of 25 cents per packaging is required by law. All one-way-beverages marked with the protected DPG Marking is returned to the material cycle via registered Reverse Vending Machines or the associated Sorting Plants, and the end consumer is reimbursed for the deposit that was paid when purchasing beverages. In order to enable compliance with this deposit reimbursement requirement, the DPG provides all system participants with the legal and organisational framework for the so-called “deposit clearing”. Internationally active beverage manufacturers and large retail chains as well as regional beverage bottlers, importers and the small kiosk on the corner benefit from this. This cooperation that can now point to very high return rates and thus contributes to significant relief for the environment. Learn more about positive environmental aspects here.

Create uniqueness

The labelling of one-way beverage packaging that is subject to the mandatory deposit is a central element of the DPG System. Beverage manufacturers and importers who decide to participate in the DPG System undertake to label their one-way beverage packaging that is subject to the mandatory deposit according to the specifications of the DPG. This marking essentially consists of the so-called DPG Marking with a special DPG Ink and an item number generated exclusively for the German market (Global Trade Item Number, GTIN).

Organise digital processes

All packaging integrated in the German one-way deposit system can be identified by an unmistakable GTIN (per article) and can be uniquely assigned to a specific manufacturer or importer (First Distributor) by comparing it with the reference data stored in a central System Database. The Reverse Vending Machines and Sorting Plants, which are also integrated into the DPG System, read the GTIN and generate an electronic data record that contains all essential information about the item. In parallel with the creation of the data record, the packaging is physically destroyed and recycled.

Bundle expert knowledge

Without a reliable deposit settlement - so-called “deposit clearing” - the recipients who are legally obliged to refund the deposit (retailers and other end distributors) would generate a huge loss in their deposit balance. In order to avoid this, deposit clearing that beverage manufacturers and importers who have placed packaging on the market and thus were the first to apply and collect the deposit, reimburse the collecting retailer the deposit money that paid out to the customer. This process, in which the data from around 18 billion single-use beverage packages is processed every year, is organised, usually with the support of highly specialised Clearing Service Providers, who are also connected to the DPG System.


Watch the DPG cycle as video: