Post B: Paul Ketz Recycling Initiative.

Germany is among the most efficient recyclers worldwide with approximately 70% of their generated waste being successfully reused or recycled. Attributed to the success of Germanys recycling rates is the ‘bottle deposit system’ (Look, M. 2014). This sees an initial deposit paid for glass or plastic bottles that can be reimbursed on their return. Each returned bottle earns the consumer 8-25 cents while ensuring the raw materials from the container can be appropriately recycled (Nasman, C. 2014b).

Paul Ketz 'Ring Deposit' (Image sourced:
Paul Ketz ‘Ring Deposit’ (Image sourced:

Paul Ketz, a young product designer from Cologne, has created a steel ring that attaches to pre existing trash cans. This allows for bottles to be held on the outer edge of the bin as opposed to thrown in (. This simple yet hugely impactful design addresses a number of social and environmental issues faced in an urbanised space.

It’s easy to understand recycling on a global scale as favoring the developed. We see countries with lower socioeconomic status dealing with immense quantities of landfill and pollution, created primarily in developed countries. Less apparent is the hierarchal implications of a scheme such as the bottle deposit system. The revenue earned on returned bottles primarily appeals to those citizens facing unemployment or homelessness. Paul Ketz’s bottle collector allows for people to partake in this system, which efficiently contributes to recycling, while eliminating much of the health risk and stigma. It is safer and more socially acceptable to see a person collecting bottles from the collector ring as opposed to digging through trash. More importantly it eliminates the health risks present when looking through garbage that may contain broken glass, syringes or hazardous waste (Nasman, C. 2014a).

Paul Ketz was disheartened by the sight of people sifting through trash and so began work on the bottle collector. Starting as a school project the impact of this simple idea was quickly realised (Nasman, C. 2014a). Local politician Andres Putkin stepped in to help create funding for the project, enlisting financial aid of businesses in the club district of Cologne. The bottle collectors were soon implemented on ten bins in busy areas. The success of this design in the Cologne area has seen a call for nation wide implementation of the bottle collector (Nasman, C. 2014b). The ability to support recycling while empowering an underclass of citizens shows the depth of change considered design can have.


Ketz, P, 2012, Deposit Ring, Paul Ketz, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Look, M. 2014, Trash Planet: Germany, Earth911, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Nasman, C. 2014a, Inventor’s deposit ring puts change in a bottle, Deutsche Weile, Germnay , viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Nasman, C. 2014b, Generation Change: Inventor claims bottle deposits for needy, Deutsche Weile, Germnay , viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Mr. Bright, 2008, Deposit on Bottles in Germany, blog, Germany Lifestyle, Germany, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

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