As reported recently by the German press, criminals are manipulating the German bottle deposit system on a massive scale in order to make money. They are manufacturing bottles, falsifying the product codes and then returning the self-made bottles to supermarkets throughout Germany.
Obviously, there is a flaw in the entire system – even the word “deposit” is misleading. Usually, a deposit is paid for something of value, i.e. an item that the owner would like to have returned. However, the item in question is a non-refundable bottle that cannot be reused. The incentive for criminals stems from the very low production costs – much less than one half of the deposit amount. What typically happens in such a well-intentioned state action is: more instead of fewer bottles are produced; non-refundable bottles are transported across long distances; creative forms of crime are invented.
This is reminiscent of a practice in India, where the government offers a premium for killing venomous snakes if the head of the dead snake is handed in to the authorities. What happened? You guessed it – venomous snake farms.