Innovation That Matters

The Pfandring is a ring that attaches to public rubbish bins and holds recyclables, making them safer and easier to collect | Photo source Pfandring

An attachment for public rubbish bins aids recycling process


A German entrepreneur has developed a rubbish bin add-on to make recycling bottles and cans easier and more convenient

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Spotted: One barrier to the greater recycling of bottles and cans is the availability of places to recycle. People who are walking around with a drink in their hands usually throw the empty into the nearest bin, rather than carrying it around and looking for a recycling bin. At the same time, homeless people and others who collect recyclables for the deposit, end up fishing through the rubbish for the used cans and bottles – which is hazardous to their health. One German innovator has come up with a solution for this – an attachment for public rubbish bins that holds the empties ready for collection. 

Paul Ketz came up with the idea for the Pfandring (‘deposit ring’) while noticing that, “returnable bottles and cans … are thrown away in the general public waste for convenience. On the other hand, there are a large number of people who are dependent on collecting the deposit or who use it [to earn] extra income.” His solution is a bottle holder that clips around the outside of public waste receptacles and holds the recyclables. 

In countries such as Germany and Belgium, users pay a deposit for each bottle or can they buy, and can then claim this back when they bring the empty to a recycling station. Many people do not bother to return the empties themselves, but instead leave them next to or on top of public rubbish bins for the homeless or others to collect. However, this is not only unsightly, but the bottles fall off the bins, or are kicked into the street and break, creating a mess of broken glass. The Pfandring was designed to prevent this. 

For Ketz, the Pfandring was also a chance to help people – both those reliant on collecting recyclables for the deposit, and by making it easier to recycle. He has said that he wanted, “to create things that not only offer solutions, but also bring joy. I consider this to be an inseparable part of sustainable design – only what has positive energy can convince freely!” 

One key to increasing the rate of recycling is to make it easier and more convenient for people to recycle – to lower the opportunity cost of recycling. Springwise has seen a number of innovations aimed at doing this, including a stylish and attractive recycling station and bottles made from a combination of paper and plastic

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Sustainability Innovations | Retail Innovations



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