Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Law Summary STATUTORY ORDER ON PACKAGING FOR BEER AND CERTAIN SOFT DRINKS # 124, amended by STATUTORY ORDER #540, requires all domestic beer and soft drink to be sold in refillable bottles; mandatory deposit/return system for imported containers made of glass and plastic; and mandatory return on certain beverages made of glass, metal and plastic defined by the Statutory Order.
Date Implemented 2002; last amended in 2020 [1]
Containers Covered
  • Plastic
  • Metal (aluminum)
  • Glass
Beverages Covered
  • Beer
  • Carbonated and uncarbonated soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Fermented drink products (excluding wine and spirits)
  • Cider
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixer products
  • Mineral water
  • Iced tea
  • Ready-to-drink beverages
  • Lemonade
  • Syrup
  • Juice
Beverages Not Covered
  • Milk and dairy-based products
  • Cocoa
  • Wine and spirits
  • Certain types of barrels/casks
  • Containers >20L
  • Non-carbonated water in containers >10L
Amount of Deposit

Metal, glass, plastic < 1L: 1 DKK

Plastic <1L: 1.5 DKK

Metal, glass, plastic ≥ 1l: 3 DKK

Handling Fees

RVM accepted containers with compaction: 

  • Metal: 0.014 DKK (€0.0012, USD$0.0013) 
  • Plastic <1L: 0.018 DKK (€0.0017, USD$0.0019) 
  • Plastic > 1L: 0.024 DKK (€0.0024, USD$0.0027) 
  • Glass: 0.071 DKK (€0.0084, USD$0.0094)

Manual collection: 

  • Metal: 0.062 DKK
  • Plastic <1L: 0.067 DKK
  • Plastic > 1L: 0.104 DKK
  • Glass: 0.148 DKK

The handling fee is a compensation fee paid by Dansk Retursystem to retailers.

Other Fees

Producer fee [2]:

  • Plastic: €0.0093 – €0.0684
  • Metal: €0.0000 – €0.0067
  • Glass: €0.0536 – €0.1986
Program Success

2019 Results:

  • Overall return rate: 92%
  • Metal: 90%
  • PET: 94%
  • Glass: 88%

2018 Results:

  • Overall return rate: 89%
  • Metal: 88%
  • PET: 93%
  • Glass: 88%

Trippage rate: 32 trips (average for all containers) 

More Details

Historically, Denmark hosted the first type of "bottle return" system in the world in 1922, where glass bottles were required to be returned for reuse due to the scarcity of the material during World War 1. [3] Though the system was expanded throughout the decades, Denmark's current deposit system including single-use containers was implemented in 2002, due to the previous system violating the European Union Packaging Waste Directive. [4] Juice and uncarbonated soft drinks were added in 2020.

The system's operator is Dansk Retursystem A/S, a non-profit which has operated the program since its newest incarnation in 2002. The fee structure that covers Dansk Retursystem's handling of packaging is paid by producers and importer per packaging. The calculation is done by Dansk Retursystem once a year and is approved by the Danish EPA. There is a free choice of packaging and less circular packaging is covered by an extra fee. This fee has been lowered by 20% on average in the last two years. [5]

Consumers may return their containers through three methods: manual return to retail, such as supermarkets, through reverse vending machines (RVMs), or at depots called "pantstation". 95% of all returns are collected through RVMs. [6] The stations are a recent initiative by the government to make deposit returns more convenient and efficient. Consumers may return containers at these depots by placing up to 100 containers in special reusable bags. Deposits are received through the consumer's bank accounts. Currently, there are 12 pantstations in Denmark. [7]


[1] "Global Deposit Book 2020: An Overview of Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers." Reloop Inc. December 15, 2020.

[2] Ibid.

[3] "Et pantsystem, vi kan være stolte af." Carlsberg Danmark A/S. Last accessed June 2021.

[4] "Denmark lifts ban on one-use-only drinks cans." Edie. January 18, 2002.

[5]  "Udgifter ved at have drikkevarer i pantsystemet." Dansk Retursystem A/S. Last accessed June 2021.

 [6] See footnote 1.

[7] "Pantstation – New Way to Collect and Recycle Packaging." Dansk Retursystem. State of Green. Last accessed June 2021.


Last Updated on June 4, 2021.