I was under the impression that this was a global phenomenon since at least 50-70 years or so, but apparently not?

Basically, I went to the Swedish Wikipedia article for "Pant": https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pant_(förpackning)

Then I checked the "other languages" section to the left to learn what it's called in English. But there is no English article, which usually means that it doesn't exist as a concept in English.

To make it clear, I'm talking about "pant" as in:

  1. You buy a soda can or bottle in a store.
  2. You go home and drink it.
  3. At a later point, you return to that store (or, I believe, any other store equipped with a little "recycling station") where you put in the empty soda can/bottle, it is scanned, and you get a receipt which you can use to buy food in the store or to cash out.

Basically, you are "incentivized" (or extorted, if you will...) to recycle them through having to pay a little extra for each can/bottle, allowing you to get that "locked up" money back.

If this is not a thing in the USA (for example), do all those cans/bottles end up in the trash/landfills? Aren't they recycled at all?

  • "Fun" fact: After Germany introduced container deposits in 2003, single use packages sales still rose, from 28 to about 40 % of all sold beverages. But hey, at least about 96 % of them are returned to the store. Wohoo -.-
    – Erik
    Jul 26, 2021 at 9:10
  • The consumer prefers curbside pickup of recyclables instead of available redemption values. But how does the recycling company make profit without a redemption value ? Basically, the municipality pays the recycling company to reduce its land-fill volume. Or there could be some economy-of-scale relative to the value of the recyclables.
    – S Spring
    Jul 27, 2021 at 12:26
  • You could also have tried looking at the Wiktionary article for pant; I have edited that to clarify that the sense container deposit is distinct, and ensured that that links to the English Wikipedia article.
    – PJTraill
    Jul 28, 2021 at 10:12
  • I have added the link to the English Wikipedia page Container deposit, which is a redirect to the actual article. It was not automatically linked because the English article is associated with the Wikidata entry for Container deposit legislation while the Swedish article is associated with that for Container deposit, a distinct concept!
    – PJTraill
    Jul 28, 2021 at 10:15
  • I have also extended the list of links from the English Wikipedia article to other languages to include all those listed at Swedish pant. All that remains is to see if there is a discussion on how to make Wikidata work better in such cases, and start one if not, and to check and if necessary try to improve (¿or even create?) the Swedish Wiktionary entry.
    – PJTraill
    Jul 28, 2021 at 10:57

3 Answers 3


A more general term for this system, with a detailed English wikipedia article, is container deposit. Such programs currently exist in 10 U.S. states (representing about 27% of the total population) which pay $0.05 to $0.15 per container, generally accepting glass, aluminum, and plastic beverage containers. The article also includes details of similar programs around the world.

Outside of container deposit laws, recycling is not required at the federal level in the U.S., and the laws around recycling varies widely by state -- some states ban certain materials from being landfilled, while others require recycling of certain materials. General there is a mix of state and local regulations governing recycling. This 2016 report from the Northeast Recycling Council (pdf) indicates that in addition to the 10 states with container deposits, at least 16 others require some form of recycling, and all but three states (Arizona, Montana, and Wyoming) have some form of restrictions on what can be sent to landfills.


Never heard the word "pant", but deposits on bottles have been typical in US since the late 1940's at least. That is how I got to the saturday movies; collect a few empty bottles from back porches , return them to the store for about $ 0.15. I guess I did not think it was right to collect more bottles so I could get candy. Around then the cheap ,no return bottles started showing up. Any store would take a Coke bottle, but the various brands of quart bottles had to be returned to the right store


Some stores incentivize bottle/container return. Namely because the store will get the return value, 5 cents a bottle deposit times 1000 bottles is 50 bucks.


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