Language: (English)

The wonderful world of the disposable deposit system

How a clearing service provider calculates national disposable deposit systems down to the very last cent. How schoolchildren are recognising the value of rubbish. And how PET bottles can be used to make t-shirts.

A completely normal water bottle on the supermarket shelf. Bought. Emptied. Discarded. And then where possible incinerated, polluting the environment? That's how things used to be. But even if these bottles are referred to as “disposable PET bottles”, they still have a long life of multiple uses ahead of them. Nowadays they are recycled over and over again – or even reincarnated as comfortable items of clothing such as t-shirts.

Over 10 billion PET bottles are purchased in one year alone in Germany. As consumers we have very little idea of the vast complexity of processes involved in the disposal of a small 0.5 litre disposable bottle: bought at the station in Hamburg and then thrown into the bottle deposit machines at the supermarket in Munich. Who pays the deposit? And to whom? Who processes the billions of data records for the many varied types of container, sizes and varieties?

This is where deposit clearing specialists, such as CCR Clearing, a company of the RLG Group, step in: in the supermarket return deposit machines, a scanner reads the information on the water bottle: which material, what type and which manufacturer. This information is sent to the clearing house and stored in a central IT system. This guarantees that later calculations between the manufacturer and the retailer will be settled fairly to the exact decimal point. There's still one more item left to “crunch”: the water bottle is flattened to save space.

Now our crushed water bottle is sent to a recycling centre balled up together with many other disposable deposit bottles, where it is turned into regranulate. Walter Reins, chief project manager, explains how this works: “First we crush the bottles. Then what's left over, the so-called flakes, are washed in hot water. Using infrared technology, these flakes are then sorted by pieces of the same type. Then they are melted down”.

As secondary raw materials, the granulate is now ready to be made into new products. Thus in subsequent processes, new plastic bottles, film or even comfortable items of clothing such as t-shirts can be manufactured from this granulate.

The recycling of PET bottles gives something back to everyone: the environment is protected by the elimination of toxic incineration gases, fewer new bottles are produced and as a result, fewer natural resources are utilised. And with this return to value, manufacturers save a lot of money.


Prevent waste, protect resources, save money – there are a great many good reasons for recycling. In a modern country such as Singapore, most empty PET bottles still end up in the normal rubbish and are burned as landfill. And this happens even though the technology for recycling could be made available. Is there any way to counteract this? And to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling? Yes, it is possible.

By starting with the next generation. “Catch them early” is a well known saying and that's why we start in the schools: we show children everything that's possible with waste and how new and exciting products can be made from it.

And so our “PET Collection Singapore” idea was born: schools compete against each other in a competition. Whoever collects the most PET bottles is the winner. This awakens enthusiasm in the children, motivating them to take part. The first collection competition was launched with such great success in 2013 that the idea is being continued into the next project phase with used batteries.Of course it's not easy to get this kind of idea off the ground. Environmental bodies, school authorities and political committees need to be convinced to get on board. And naturally this is only the start in terms of introducing new collection systems.

Whoever has the objective of advising public institutions and persuading them to rethink their approach, will need a lot of patience – and plenty of experience. Nevertheless, the first steps have been taken: schools as the beginning of a new era for waste. And schoolchildren as the new generation of sustainable thought.

CCR Clearing GmbH
Reverse Logistics Group
Karl-Hammerschmidt-Str. 36
D 85609 Dornach
Tel. +49 89 49049 100
Fax +49 89 49049 33 100

CCR Clearing - Clearing systems for disposable containers

The can for a well-known energy drink was in the past only able to stay on the supermarket shelves thanks to a deposit system of CCR CLEARING. Now, over a hundred million cans are handled through the linked counting centres and billions of records are processed in the CCR data centre. CCR Clearing is the internationally established designer of disposable deposit systems.