Where to take bottles and cans

Did you know that you can deliver empty bottles and cans with mortgages in more than 3,000 locations in Denmark?

You can hand in your deposit-marked empty bottles and cans in reverse vending machines and at deposit stations. If your nearest grocery store or gas station does not have a reverse vending machine, you can usually hand over your bottles or cans to the staff.

In the video below you can see how you can easily deposit on a “pantstation” (in danish).

Reverse vending machines

Nearly 3000 stores throughout Denmark have reverse vending machines, where you can return all deposit-marked bottles and cans. Reverse vending machines accept bottles and cans and scan the deposit mark, barcode and shape. The machine then calculates how much money to refund to you. The reverse vending machine feeds the bottles and cans into containers that are collected by Dansk Retursystem. The bottles and cans are then recycled, melted and turned into new bottles and cans. 

You can also return bottles without a deposit mark that are part of the deposit and return system to locations that sell the same shape bottle. 

In restaurants, cafés, canteens, hotels and the like, customers typically drink the contents of the bottles or cans they have purchased on the premises. These businesses are not required to take back other bottles and cans. 

Stores without reverse vending machines

Stores without reverse vending machines must take back deposit-marked bottles and cans of the same material that they sell, regardless of the product brand. So if they sell cans, they must take back all cans. If they sell plastic bottles, they must take all plastic bottles. The same applies to glass bottles. 

“Pantstations”

A ‘pantstation’ (deposit return bank) is a building designed for the sole purpose of taking back empty bottles and cans so they can be recycled, melted and turned into new bottles and cans. The smart thing about them is that you can deliver up to 90 bottles and cans at a time in a special deposit sack from Dansk Retursystem, and the deposits are transferred into your bank account. It takes less than a minute, and you avoid sticky fingers. 

Twelve towns or cities have a ‘pantstation’ (deposit return bank) to which you can deliver a sack containing up to 90 bottles and cans. The pantstations are located in: Aalborg, Randers, Lystrup, Horsens, Herning, Esbjerg, Odense, Kalundborg, Slagelse, Helsingør, Høje Taastrup and Køge. 

What do I do with cans purchased abroad?

Many people buy beer and soft drinks abroad, such as at the border between Denmark and Germany. There are no deposits on these bottles and cans because Danish law does not apply. 

You can still return the bottles and cans, for example, to a Pantstation (deposit return bank). You will not get any deposits, but you will be doing the environment a big favour. This conserves raw materials, because recycling the material takes a lot less energy than producing new bottles and cans. 

For example, manufacturing a can from a used can requires 95% less energy than producing a brand new can. A new can also requires extracting 4 kg of bauxite ore to produce 1 kg of aluminium, and this strains the ecosystem. 

New bottles and cans can only be made from empty bottles and cans if they have not been mixed with other items made of aluminium, plastic and glass. Denmark has very strict requirements about the quality of the material that can be used for food products.