Pick up bottles in Germany

When I first arrived in Germany, I couldn’t work due to my limited language skills, so I studied how to save money while studying languages. During this period, I also developed a new hobby-picking up bottles.

In Germany, all bottles must be recycled, and the Germans have come up with an efficient recycling method-the bottle charge system. Germany has implemented a collateral fee policy since January 2003, which is mainly applicable to the beer and beverage industries. The so-called bottle deposit fee is a deposit for the bottle. The deposit is generally 0.25 Euro (Euro, the same below), and the deposit system logo is printed on the bottle.

For example, the price of a 1.5-liter bottle of mineral water is 0.2 Euro, and the deposit of the bottle will be automatically added at the checkout. The total amount is 0.45 Euro. Since 2006, all supermarkets with a business area of ​​more than 200 square meters have been equipped with a bottle recycling machine. Empty bottles are placed on the conveyor belt of the machine. The machine scans the deposit mark on the bottle. The bottle is automatically squashed at the bottom of the conveyor belt. The machine will issue a small ticket of the corresponding amount. The small ticket can be used as money when shopping or directly exchanged for cash at the cashier.

After learning about this, I suddenly realized that all the empty bottles on the street were all money.

Although empty bottles are everywhere, as a well-dressed girl, you can’t just pick it up. In places with a lot of people, there are naturally many bottles, but it is really embarrassing to pick up bottles in full view. Every time I pass by those bottles, I keep sighing in my heart-what a pity! If it is a place with few people, I will look around, picking up the bottle and stuffing it into my school bag when people are not paying attention. I am used to going out for a walk in the evening, while the Germans like to watch TV after dinner. Therefore, there are very few pedestrians in some areas in the evening. If I encounter an empty bottle by chance, I will pick it up happily. Put the bottle in the school bag, and there is more than 3 euros!

There are many young people in the small town where I live now. Everyone likes to carry a few boxes of beer and drinks by the river in the sunny evening or weekend. At the end of the song, walking along the river bank line, you can see that all the trash cans are filled with bottles, and the surrounding trash cans are also full. Those bottles are like white silver, which makes people itchy. And as one of the few Asian faces in the small town, if I pull down my face to pick up a bottle, my recognition is too high, so I am always embarrassed to shoot. In fact, it is not my turn to shoot. After living soon, I discovered that there are already two or three professional bottle pickers here. One of them is about 40 years old and has well-developed limbs. He always carries one or two big bags on his shoulders. He runs and collects in the city and by the river. Sometimes he walks directly in front of tourists and uses fluent English to ask for bottles in the hands of tourists. . The other two are probably young and middle-aged, and could have found a decent job instead of making a living.

The crowd picking up bottles varies from region to region. This city is a small and affluent city in South Germany. It has a small population and a developed economy. Even refugees have been properly settled. Therefore, taking bottle picking as a business is not forced to make a living, but more of a personal choice. But in cities with high living costs and mixed populations such as Berlin and Munich, picking up a bottle has a bit of bitterness. Among them are the elderly, homeless, refugees, and other migrants who live on meager pensions, and even the whole family joins forces, pushing the supermarket shopping carts to the crowded squares, and then pushing again. A cart full of bottles went to the supermarket to exchange cash.

Just when I concealed my shameful hobby, there were also decent people who were generous with their fists. My roommate’s brother is a respected local tax accountant. He has a house and a car. One of his hobbies is picking bottles. He takes a bag with him every morning and evening when he walks in the city, looks at the bottle and picks it up, without feeling ashamed. This is a habit he cultivated in his school days and he is proud of it.

The most bottles are after a football match, and the audience disperses. There are thousands of bottles left on the table. However, these bottles have long been “contracted” by the Eastern European gangs, and they can earn a few thousand euros after picking them up. Each gang has its own area, and fights for bottles are not uncommon.

The so-called “little picking up the feelings”, the big one hurting the body, probably so.