Using the Danish Deposit System

Travel Tips — By Jane Graham on March 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

While some ditch environmental concerns with their luggage at check-in, interest in green travel (or responsible/ sustainable tourism) is increasing. Thankfully for travelers to Denmark, being a responsible tourist is easy—and it can even save you money.

For decades now, Denmark has maintained a deposit system for its plastic and glass bottles, and more recently on aluminium drinks cans. Each time you buy a drink, either in a neighborhood store or a larger supermarket, you’ll be charged a small deposit ranging from DKK 1 for a small can up to DKK 3 for a 1.5L plastic bottle.

Even Danish microbrewed beer bottles offer deposits.

If you look at the bottle’s label, you should be able to see a small black logo made up of circular-pointing arrows above the barcode (like the one pictured above). Under the logo it’ll say ‘pant a’, ‘pant b’ or ‘pant c’. Pant a bottles and cans will give you a DKK 1 return, pant b DKK 1.50 and pant c, the larger plastic soda bottles, DKK 3.

You can return bottles and cans using the automated bottle banks or flaskeautomater found in the entrance to most supermarkets (these can be hard to find—sometimes they have a separate entrance, or are actually inside the store). Place the bottles in sideways and bottom first, with the bar code facing downwards. Take it slowly or the machine will start beeping crazily.

Once you’ve finished, simply press the green button and take the printed ticket to redeem at check-out for groceries or cash. Alternatively, many machines now have a yellow button—press this, and you can donate your deposit to various charities.

If you can’t find a machine, you can always hand in your bottles personally at a smaller market.

Image courtesy of Bernt Rostad/creative commons.

Tags: bottle banks, green travel, recycling, responsible tourism


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