Thursday, 7 October 2010


One of the things that surprised the members of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society on their visit to the Budweiser Budvar Brewery was the spectacle of old beer bottles being cleaned and recycled.

When I was a child in 1960's Britain we used to pay a deposit on lemonade bottles. I remember the delight of handing the empty bottle over to Mrs Evans in our local cornershop and getting back a nice coin, which if allowed I used to buy some sweets. We Brits stopped recycling bottles sometime in my childhood - a mistake I think. 

But the Czechs sensibly have retained the system of paying a deposit on beer bottles. You save your empty bottles and crate (if you paid a deposit on that too) until you decide to return them to the supermarket. There you will find a machine - with a hole into which you feed individual bottles and another for crates. The machine weighs the bottle (checking you're not trying to fiddle the system) and then a converyor takes the bottle and drops it with a clink somewhere on the other side. When you have finished, you press a button and the machine gives you a receipt, which you hand in to the checkout. It is amazing (and pleasant) how much money you get back. You certainly are motivated to recycle every beer bottle.


Neil said...

We paid a deposit on beer bottles as late as 1988 here in South Yorkshire. It was a thrill to take a hundred empties back and get free beer with them!

Amazing that the practise ever ceased.

McCabeandco said...

Yeah but beer for the Czechs is sold alongside water in their supermarkets. It's everywhere. Come to think of it, don't Czechs also have a money incentives to return shopping trollies? In Australia they haven't invented such things yet. I am surprised we even know how to brew beer!! The Czechs brew and drink so much recycling their bottles is the only way to keep up with the demand :)

potok said...

McCabeandco, Beer certainly is the national drink. As for shopping trolleys that tends to be when the shop is near housing, ie to stop people taking the trolley home and not bothering to bring it back. The same is true in England.


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