The mystery of bottle/can deposits (Pfand)

157 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello folks.

I'm still trying to decode the mysterious inner workings of Pfand. :huh:

Where I come from I am used to:

  • The "deposit" or Pfand amount being listed directly on the bottle. I generally don't see this here, and the amount seems quite variable and unpredictable.

  • You could redeem these bottles almost anywhere they are sold. Doesn't quite seem to be the case here as far as I can tell.

So, this leads me to the following (goofy) questions...

  • 1. Is there a guideline for how much Pfand is for various bottles? How is one supposed to know the Pfand amount?

  • 2. Where can I collect my Pfand for bottles I buy from vending machines?

  • 3. Does a store that sells something with Pfand have to accept the bottle back and give you the Pfand?

  • 4. Will any bottle or container that has a Pfand definitely say "Pfand" on the label?

I guess that pretty much covers my lingering Pfand questions. I really want to know this stuff :D

Thanks for any guidance on this riveting subject!

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Posted

If the vending machine is at work, you are probably not being charged for the deposit and there is usually a stack for the bottles next to the machine.

Pfand bottles can be returned anywhere!

Most grocery stores have the list on the wall by the return area as to what deposit is what.

They stopped the stupid PET bottle deal which was a big pain as you got a little receipt and had to return it there.

Bottles with pfand say pfand on them although it is sometimes hard to find. The others have the green recycle arrows on them.

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Posted

right post in wrong thread! :rolleyes:

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Posted

The law regarding deposits on cans and PET bottles (which is STILL in force Eurovol) came from the old conservative federal government, not the Greens. It was supported becasue it basicly protected smaller local brewers in southern Germany from the big northern industrial brewers. Ironicly now, the CDU/CSU are more friends with big industry than local brewers so oppose it.

The law said that a deposit system for cans and PET bottles would be introduced if the % of fizzy drinks (water, cola etc ) and beer being sold in these containers breached a certain limit. For YEARS the government fiddled the figures or didn't report them but finally they did. Largely du to the onward march of Aldi and Penny etc. the ammount sold in cans and PET had exploded.

So the deposit system came in and it was a lot of money, instead of 8 cents of a 0,5 litre glass bottle it was 25 cents or 50 centrs depending on size.

The drinks industry and retailing industy had YEARS to prepare for the deposit system on cans and PET but chose not to do so, instead trying to sue in Brussels that the law was illegal.

So when the law came in, canned beer and cola disapeared from supermarkets.

The supermarkets started issuing tokens (or using paper receipts!) with bottles sold so you could redeem them only where you bought them.

The priciple is STILL the same. Most fizzy drinks bottles now have imposed in the plastic the name of the supermarket chain and you can ONLY redeem them at that chain (or in the same group, eg Penny and HL are interchangeable)

Products sold by the Coca Cola group often have a green top, these you can refund ANYWHERE in Germany.

Excluded from pfand are (currently) milk, wine, still mixed drinks like ice tea, juice, alcopops and spirits. Though this may well change.

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Posted

All I know is that the Tenglemann next to us quite charging pfand on the PET bottles we did and do buy and some milk we buy does have pfand. I don't mind it as long as you can return them everywhere.

Note: I don't buy canned beer and rarely canned colas. It could also be that the PET bottlers changed to the recycleable kind and I have just never noticed the difference. :huh:

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Posted

Teneglmann IS charging you pfand if you buy drinks in PET that fall into the categories above, look at the till receipt!

Yes on cola and mineral water, but no on ice tea etc.

If you buy posh milk ;) cream, milk products these sometimes have a pfand on the bottle / jar.

The law was never meant to be used, just to threaten the drinks / retailing industry and never specified there HAD to be a central system for getting the pfand back. So the retailers are just being bloody minded and refusing to set up a central system, the consumer suffers.

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Posted

Weihenstephan posh milk? :blink:

Now the wife buys that Bären Mark Nestle posh stuff.

I usually buy the 0.49 el cheapo 1.5% milk. Gotta make room for the beer. ;)

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Posted

1. A guideline? This is Germany my son, it will be a law tattooed above the heart of the man who sold you the drink.

2. It likely says on the machine where you can return them, but I've never had a problem getting money from a supermarket from them.

3. Yes.

4. Yes, except when they don't, I think.

This kind of system used to exist in Britain as well, and all the old winos would get money for their next bottle by picking up discarded bottles and getting back the pennies for them. It says something maybe that I've never seen a discarded bottle here. Either there's a lot of winos or the Germans are too mean to discard 10c, I don't know which.

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Posted

Lot of people will collect bottles discarded after parties in Englischer Garten or by the Isar for the deposit.

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Posted

Am i the only one thinking that if they got rid of Pfands theyd get rid of so many tramps??

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Posted

To answer the original questions:

* 1. Is there a guideline for how much Pfand is for various bottles? How is one supposed to know the Pfand amount?
Yes.

Deposit (Pfand) costs:

"Mehrweg"

Returnable beer bottles: €0.08

(standardised short or long brown, also private such as Beck's or Desperados)

Returnable standardised glass 0.7l "Deutsche Brunnen" bottles: €0.15

Returnable standardised glass 1.0l juice bottles: €0.15

Returnable standardised PET 0.5l, 1.0l, 1.5l bottles: €0.15

Returnable dairy bottles & jars: €0.15

"Einweg"

Single-use containers <=1.5 liters: €0.25

Single-use containers >1.5 liters: €0.50

No deposit yet for iced tea, non-carbonated drinks (with some exceptions for bottled water), Tetra-Paks, and juices, although some are only available in reusable/returnable containers with deposits as above.

* 2. Where can I collect my Pfand for bottles I buy from vending machines?

Every vending machine has the name of the company in charge of it and most list to which shop or kiosk in that building/mall/station empties should be returned.

* 3. Does a store that sells something with Pfand have to accept the bottle back and give you the Pfand?
Yes. They have to take back bottles that they carry in their assortment. However, in the case of the one-way items, you can only return them to the store/chain from which you got them. Lidl and Aldi are big enough that they get special labels with their logos; Tengelman and others gave up on tickets/coupons for each bottle and dropped all pfand-incurrnig one-way packages from their selections. This was the hope of those who came up with the laws to begin with.

* 4. Will any bottle or container that has a Pfand definitely say "Pfand" on the label?

For returnables, yes. For one-way, probably, but not guaranteed, especially if the item is made outside Germany but not specifically for the German market.

woof.

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Posted

you cant go out without seeing someone with their hands in a dustbin though!

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Posted

And if you were unemployed, homeless and hungry, your hands would be in there, too.

woof.

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Posted

Okay, can one of the pfand experts explain something?

I have here a bottle of STILL mineral water. On the side there is a sign that says "Rewe-Gruppe Penny pfand 0.25c"

Does that mean I canget 25c back for this bottle but only at certain supermarkets?

If I can then there is a serious mess-up going on in the supermarket because the bottle of water (1.5l) only cost 25c altogether!!!

If I can get the pfand then the water is free!!!

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Posted

Yes, you can get the pfand back from any store in the REWE Group (which includes REWE, HL, miniMAL, toom, Penny, idea and ProMarkt). However, you need to check your receipt more carefully. The water may have been €0.25, but there was another €0.25 on there somewhere for the deposit.

woof.

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Posted

That's the strange thing BadDoggie, I didn't pay the extra 25c pfand. I buy this same bottle of water roughly every 2 days and I only ever pay 25c TOTAL.

So the shop has got something wrong then hasn't it?

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Posted

What does PET stand for?

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Posted

Sounds like it. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Or if Jiminy Cricket is on your shoulder and won't STFU, go tell the manager.

woof.

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Posted

Poly (Ethylene Terephthalate) and it is a kind of plastic.

There is also PE-styrene, propylene and a dozen other chemical names that say plastic of various hardness and elasticity.

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