German Difference of the Week- The Crates of Glass in our Car

I’ve discovered you never truly “buy” a bottle of beer in Germany.   You buy the liquid inside the bottle…

Does the US even offer Coke in a glass bottle anymore?  Other than those crazy-overpriced tiny “collector” bottles?

Yes, I was a little confused at first too. 

Anyway…In the US, you buy a glass bottle of soda.  You drink the soda.   You (hopefully) throw the bottle into a glass recycling bins.  Done!

In Germany, if you follow those rules, you’d be throwing your money away…  Germany has a bottle deposit system in place.  You buy a glass bottle of soda, you drink the soda, then you return the bottle to the store on your next trip for a nice little sum off your final grocery bill.   The bottles are then returned the beverage manufacturer, sterilized, and re-filled. 

Most of the grocery stores I’ve seen have a very high-tech machine near the entrance where you place the bottles.  The machine spins the bottle to read the UPC and then credits you a specific amount based on the make/brand/size of the glass bottle.  Once you’ve returned all your bottles, the machine spits out a receipt with the total.  You take that receipt to the cashier when you check out- and the amount is subtracted from your final bill- like an instant rebate or coupon. 

We get back two to three euros each time we go the German grocery store (about once a month).

Still confused?  I found a video on YouTube.  (Nope, the woman is not me- I was going to film something similar, but kept forgetting the digital video camera.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElYT8SMl-qI

Which is why, on the night we go grocery shopping, we tend to have a milk crate of bottles sitting in the back of the car from the prior few weeks.   The glass clanking as we go over speed bumps is worth every (Euro) cent.

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Categories: deployment, German differences, Germany, of course | 1 Comment

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One thought on “German Difference of the Week- The Crates of Glass in our Car

  1. Anna Gall

    And Li will remember the clicking and clacking of those bottles years from now. Thanks for sharing.

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