Cash for your Empties?

March 7, 2006 at 10:05 am

People in the UK may be unfamiliar with this concept and the idea of a ‘bottlebill’.

A bottlebill is a law which requires retailers to take a deposit for beer or soft drink bottles which is then refunded when the empties are returned to encourage a high rate of recycling.

The idea started back in the 50’s and was aimed at reducing costs for companies by producing less bottles and also to reduce the amount of rubbish in the waste stream.

Many US states and various European countries use this system but it doesn’t ever seem to have been implemented as a recycling method in the UK. Would it work if introduced? Would you take back your empties for cash?

For more infomation on bottlebills, take a look at

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2 responses to “Cash for your Empties?”

  1. Jonathan Miles says:

    The system works very well in Germany and a number of other European countries. There are standardised bottles for beer, fruit juice and water, which are used by different producers. The principal beer bottle type is also used throughout Central Europe. Shops have an automatic machine which spits out the deposit in exchange for the bottles.
    Although it would take some organising, the same thing could be done in the UK, in which case the adoption of the German sizes would save reinventing wheels and allow reuse of imported bottles.

  2. Sherrie Hayday says:

    I’ve just come back from Finland and nearly all supermarkets have the facility to return bottles and cans. You get a receipt when finished and you can exchange this for cash or have it deducted from your shopping bill. I think it would really make people recycle more. I have a friend who just throws it all in the bin, i’m sure if she was going to get some money back she’d recycle everything!!!

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