Returnable history

How all begins

Returnable history started 150 years ago when the milkman came to deliver and to take back milk bottles. At that time, glass containers were valuable objects because expensive to produce. This is why many deposit-refund system were implemented and consumers had to return their used bottles.

Consumption society

After World War II, the beverage industry changed a lot. Indeed, The 60’s changed our societies by automation of the industry and mass production. Containers did not have any value. Moreover, new products and materials flooded our markets like cans and plastic bottles. From this period, volumes of packaging have raised a lot increasing in the same time volumes of waste.

Recycling or reusing?

Arkema's commitment to sustainability

Governments and states began to work on the waste treatment issues involving fillers and packaging producers as they have to participate to waste elimination as well. Returnable glass bottles find their place in this reflection.


« Returnable stamp » allows industrials to reuse the same packaging many times before it becomes a waste. Returnable bottles are well in line with waste reduction process. According to some studies, glass bottles can be reused 50 cycles instead of 25 cycles for PET bottles. It is so many waste we avoid to treat by local authorities and in waste centers.


This is why, in many countries, time passed by and Returnable evolved through the years. Indeed nowadays many filling brands make the choice of their own bottle design and are responsible of using returnable bottles mainly for economic and sustainable reasons. Today it appears as a solution to rethink our work and people as well as industries developed a common interest to optimize it.


Our customer, SAB MILLER, is one of the main actor encouraging returnable system.