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Friday, 25 September 2009

And Your Deposit

Recycling. All those plastic bottles you got from the supermarket. Do you feel motivated to put them in the right colour bin – or do you, more or less regularly, find you can’t be bothered with the whole business? So what if you had a tangible – as in monetary – incentive?

This is something you’ll come across in countries like Germany, and it’s been a feature of some retailers in the Netherlands since before I worked out there back in 2000. The concept is pretty straightforward: you get billed for a bottle deposit in addition to the marked price for the product. You want to lose that deposit, fair enough, go ahead and throw it.

But if you want to get the deposit back, it’s simple: you take the empties back to the supermarket, where they have a bottle deposit machine. This identifies each one you insert by size and shape, and credits your deposit. When you’re done, press the green button and out pops your “bon”, a voucher which can be used to pay part of your next bill.

For families that go through serious amounts of such things, that could make a real difference. Who’d be more bothered about recycling then?

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