Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mix-Up Monday: Depoits (Flaschenpfand)

In our last Mix-Up Monday we talked a little bit about how both the USA and Germany put a deposit on certain types of containers. This entry is going to expand on the topic.

Germany is very serious about their deposits, and we actually find that to be a good thing. Depending on what type of bottle you buy, the deposit might be 8 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, or 25 cents. Typically, beer bottles are 8 cents while thick plastic bottles (filled with juice or soda) are 25 cents. Plastic crates also have a deposit on them, 1.50 euros. When you bring back the bottles and the crate you get all of your money back. It does not matter if you go to a different store than where it was purchased at, as long as they sell the same product.

Unlike the USA, it does not matter where you are in Germany the deposit is always the same. In the USA, different states may have different deposit amounts, often 5 cents in some states and 10 cents in others. If you plan well, you can take you bottles and cans across state lines and make some money ;)

Returning your bottles is very easy in Germany. Every grocery store accepts the bottles and cases. Often there is a machine that takes the bottles and spits out the receipt. Other times you give it to the clerk who counts the bottles and writes a receipt for you to get your money back. We actually find it a bit fun.Even if we know that we paid for these bottles during a past visit, it still feels like "found money." Who doesn't like found money?!?

Many states in the US make it much harder to return bottles for deposits. Often you have to take them to a special location for bottle returns and the regular stores do not accept them. She actually has never returned a bottle in California because it is so out of the way to do so. On the other hand, New York accepts bottles, like Germany, at most stores. Like many things in the USA, the process varies with where you live. This is definitely something the USA needs to work on!

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