Guten Tag Germany: Our Bottled Water Story

We did not have much luck with bottled water in Germany.

It started off with our misadventures with ‘bubblywater, aka sparkling water in Cochem, Germany. 

First bottle was bought at Frankfurt Hahn airport, and the next two bottles were bought at Cochem train station, until we were told that there are sparkling and non-sparkling (still) water in Germany. In fact, they also have sparkling, and not-that-sparkling water. Goodness gracious me.

Very soon, we found out that there is a €0.25 bottle deposit. Let’s say a bottle of water costs €0.19, you would need to pay additional €0.25 bottle deposit = €0.44 per bottle. Read more about the bottle deposit here.

€0.25 is a lot of moolah, that we saw many people checking out bins for bottles. Even at open-air market, there would be people eyeing bottles on tables. Well, at least they are making ‘honest’ money, with their own efforts. Kudos to these (hardworking) people. 

Edeka’s bottle recycling machine

 In Munich, we didn’t face much problems, as Edeka have bottle recycling machines. That was our regular supermarket for groceries.

In Berlin, Reichelt supermarket at Alexa Shopping Centre was where we always shop. And no recycling machine there. We tried asking Reichelt’s cashiers, but they spoke little English.

It’s locked! No luck

 We ended up with 10 empty bottles on our last day in Berlin. So, we thought we could dispose the bottles at garbage / recycling bins … but no luck, the one next to our hostel was locked up. 

And we couldn’t just leave the bottles any public garbage bin (for ‘bottle collectors’ to profit from our bottles), as there were too many bottles! 

Thank god for Lidl

 The bottles followes us from hostel to a cafe for breakfast, and then back to our hostel. ZE agreed to ask our hostel’s staff for key to the locked garbage area .. that’s when we were directed to a supermarket (Lidl) down the road. We should have asked earlier.

Without her, I would have just left the bottles behind in our room, for hostel’s cleaner to recycle, and earn a little tips.

Well … my niece is a strong believer in Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It was never about getting back the deposit money. So, I told her that she should be proud of herself, for not giving up, despite the hassle. 


Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.