Due to the increase in the consumption of plastic, paper, glass, etc in our daily life, recycling has become one of the essential aspects of today’s life. In Germany, there is a deposit system which is called Pfand in German word. It is actually a deposit system for bottles made of different recyclable materials.

What is pfand?

While buying certain products in plastic bottles, glass bottles and tin, you should pay an extra amount of money, on top of the actual price of the product, as a deposit. This deposit can be claimed back while returning the empty plastic, glass bottles or tins.

For example, if you buy a water bottle that costs 19 cents, you should pay 25 cents extra. That means, you should pay 19 cents + 25 cents = 44 cents while buying that water bottle.

This encourages people to return their empty recyclable materials. The empty bottles or cans can then be recycled.

Materials with pfand

  • Plastic water bottles
  • Glass water bottles
  • Beer bottles
  • Plastic soft drink bottles
  • Glass soft drink bottles
  • Aluminium cans
  • Other multiple-use (Mehrweg) package, etc

Materials without pfand

  • Most of the milk bottles
  • Most of the juice bottles
  • Most of the wine bottles
  • Most of the alcohol (hot) bottles
  • Bottles purchased in other countries, etc

Pfand amount

The maximum pfand is 25 cents and the values differ based on the type of material. For some glass bottle, pfand will be only 8 cents to 15 cents. The Pfand amount for most of the plastic bottles is 25 cents. Especially it’s for all the drinking water bottles, beer tins, hot drink tins, etc. Pfand amount will be also mentioned in some bottles.

How to identify pfand material?


  • Recycle logo
  • Mehrweg


  • With Pfand: Pfand-Glas, Mehrwegflasche, Mehrweg Pfand, Einweg Pfandflasche
  • Without Pfand: Pfandfrei, Ohne Pfand

Pfand money return

You will get a receipt while returning the bottle in the Pfand machine. You can get the money by giving the receipt. You can also deduct the money for the purchase at the supermarket. The receipt can be used on the same day or can also be used later.

Where are the pfand machines available?

The Pfand machines are available normally at the entrance of each and every supermarket. Sometimes it will be also inside the supermarket. It can also be found in Getränkemarkt (supermarkets solely intended for different types of drinks ranging from water bottles to various alcoholic beverages).

Spend as a donation

In some supermarkets, instead of getting the receipt for the pfand money, it’s also possible to donate it.

Where else we can see Pfand system?

You can see the pfand system in many other places as mentioned below:

  • Christmas markets
  • Open parties
  • Festival
  • Pub
  • Bar
  • Concerts, etc

In general, pfand system is applicable in most of the events.