Growing up in Colorado, I had no exposure to “deposits”—that small sum of money that paid for each can or bottle of pop. I only encountered deposits when I headed east to visit my grandparents in New York.
For my Grandmother it was religion—making sure that cans and bottles were carefully tracked and then returned to the supermarket for the five-cent deposit.
That exposure helped prepare me for the German Pfand—that is, deposit.
However, I’m completely perplexed by some aspects of the system. The system deals with three kinds of bottles, which, as best I can tell, looks like this:
- 25 cents for light plastic bottles. These run the gauntlet of brands: Coke, generic brands, cheep beer brands, and the like. Typically the machines that deal with these kinds of bottles tend to smash the bottle after taking the bottle.
- 15 cents for heavy plastic bottles. These tend to be only mainstream brands—like Coke. I’m under the impression that these bottles are sent back to the bottler who wash the bottles and then reuse them.
- 8 cents for glass beer bottles. This deposit is too small because drunks on the street are all too quick to drop the bottles or throw them around—however, eight cents is better than no cents.
Left out: wine bottles—those are taken to the glass recycling bins that dot town—brown, green, and white glass. I don’t quite understand why wine bottles are omitted from the deposit scheme.
Come to think of it hard liquor bottles have no deposit.
Nor do pickle jars.