Here in Germany there are a number of beer brands that come in a swing top bottle:

A common swing top bottle
(picture taken from Wikipedia; copyright by Michiel1972, license GNU/GFDL)

I often heard the claim that you should leave those bottles open before returning them, because otherwise it would harm the beer producer, create additional work and cost, be bad for the environment and raise the beer costs.

Most of the time when you ask people claiming such things, they will tell you that in order to clean and reuse these bottles, the lids have to be open. If the lids are not open, they have to be opened manually and the company has to hire additional workers for that in their factory.

I find this very hard to believe, especially considering the massive amounts of bottles that are returned for refilling every day. The factories surely are able to open those bottles automatically if this is necessary for cleaning and refilling them.

Is there any truth to the claim that you should leave the bottles open?

  • 1
    If closing them creates jobs wouldnt you want to close them? – Chad Apr 2 '12 at 15:39
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    Not if I pay for them indirectly. ;) – magnattic Apr 2 '12 at 15:58
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    Years back these bottles (brown, heavy ones), would be opened and cleaned with caustic soda. But nowadays, these bottles are much lighter, and they are recycled (melted) rather than cleaned, so it shouldn't really matter. It's been argued that melting has lesser environmental impact than washing. – vartec Apr 2 '12 at 20:31
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    @Fabian then maybe adding a translation of that into the question would be appropriate? – Sonny Ordell Apr 4 '12 at 0:07
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    @SonnyOrdell: The text translates to: "According to the note on the bottle the empty swing top bottles should not be closed after use, because then they have to be opened again for cleaning. This work step is being performed by employees of the sheltered workshop Kappeln." I am not sure including this in the question makes much sense, it could be appropiate as part of an answer, but not on its own. (Also there are no citations for that part.) – magnattic Apr 12 '15 at 10:55

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