In the UK there is currently growing pressure for beverage companies to bring back deposits on bottles in order to fulfil recycling quotas.
The practice began to disappear more than 30 years ago but the UK Government wants to revive it to reduce the growing mountain of domestic rubbish.
With 30 million tons of household waste produced every year, a figure that is growing by 3 per cent annually, ministers are desperate to find ways to promote recycling.
Environment Minister Michael Meacher has asked officials to find ways that deposit schemes could work in modern Britain.
In the past the deposit was a penny or two per glass bottle. Now it would have to be at least 20 pence (30 cents) for there to be an incentive.
Critics said the reasons soft drinks companies scrapped the schemes still apply. In the fifties and sixties soft drinks were produced and bottled locally, making them easy to return. As national distribution centres became the norm, along with the advent of plastic containers and cans, this no longer made economic sense.
Now only 3 per cent of soft drinks are in glass bottles, and consumers are better off, making the small amount of cash less of an incentive than the pennies were to thrifty families who had lived through the war years.
Today's children who aspire to expensive trainers and the latest mobile phone are unlikely to return bottles, even at 20 pence a time, critics say.
The scheme still exists in independent shops in Scotland and a handful in England, but a spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said: "We believe these schemes are not the way forward. The main reason people don't return packaging is that it is inconvenient. The cash incentive is irrelevant. The deposit would have to be enormous for people to think it was worth it. We want local authorities to provide better schemes to collect waste from homes for recycling."
The UK dairy industry currently recycles bottles without the incentive of a deposit: customers simply leave the empties on the doorstep for the milkman. But more people are buying milk at the shops in cartons or plastic containers.
The government is also considering charging households a ' rubbish tax' if they do not sort their plastic, glass and paper waste into separate bags for recycling.
Currently, 85 per cent of rubbish is sent to landfill sites. Only 7 per cent is recycled. The government wants to increase that to 25 per cent.