The one-way deposit system - how does it work?

Since 2003, consumers, beverage manufacturers and retailers have organised the issue and return of one-way beverage packaging in combination with a deposit. In this way, everyone involved makes an active contribution to environmental protection and promotes resource-saving material cycles.

Are you selling beverages on the German market?

Many consumers like to use disposable beverage packaging - not least because they can be easily disposed of using the Reverse Vending Machines. This is an important argument in favour of beverage manufacturers joining the DPG one-way deposit process and thus remaining on the safe side, legally speaking.

Do you collect packaging with a one-way deposit?

The system of the Deutsche Pfandsystem (DPG System) enables consumer-friendly return of empty packaging via vending machines, but also via manual withdrawal at the cash desk. The standards agreed within the DPG System promote uncomplicated reimbursement of deposits.

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The DPG Disposable Deposit System - A valuable contribution to the Circular Economy

 
Thanks to the organised deposit cycle, almost 100% of the PET plastic can be kept within a single cycle: After the return by the consumer, the emptied bottle goes through the Reverse Vending Machine to a high-quality recycling, where new bottles are formed from the shredded material. It’s also possible to recycle beverage cans made of aluminium or sheet metal. This means cycles remain closed.

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You can identify single-use beverage packaging by the DPG Logo showing bottle, can and arrow.

A deposit of at least 0.25 euros is charged for all marked single-use beverage packaging, regardless of whether it is a can or a bottle. These bottles and cans can be returned nationwide and are filled only once and recycled after return, e.g. into new disposable beverage packaging. You can find out more about the recycling process in our video.

Reusable glass or plastic bottles can, but do not have to be marked with a symbol for reusable bottles. For reusable bottles, a deposit of 0.08 or 0.15 euros is usually refunded on glass or plastic bottles labelled accordingly.

The deposit for disposable beverage packaging and its return is regulated by law in the German Packaging Act (VerpackG). There is no such regulation for reusable bottles. This is why there is no general obligation for individual retailers to take back reusable bottles. They are only obliged to take back bottles and crates of brands they have in their assortment. In practice, however, bottles of other brands are also taken back, especially uniform pool bottles used by several companies.

 The advantages and disadvantages of the two deposit and return systems operating in parallel are still being debated in Germany today. However, one thing remains undisputed: Both systems make a significant contribution to waste avoidance and recycling, and in both systems, the mandatory deposit strengthens society's awareness of the value of reusable and recyclable material resources. All in all, they complement each other. From an environmental point of view, the goal for both systems must remain a constant questioning and optimisation of the resources used.