Deeposits - underwater collection and returning of refundable bottles and more




artistic intervention: collecting and returning refundable bottles underwater to fund sustainability.

How I became a deposit diver

After an online dispute about the proposed EU ban of single-use disposable plastic, I went snorkeling a the Kulkwitzer and found a bunch of disposable tableware. So I collected it and continued my dive finding more objects that do not belong in a lake. Some of these were plastic bottles and/or refundable bottles. At Makerfaire Berlin the team of mifactori
presented the PET palace project. Many people asked us about the value of the installation because we removed the the labels of the bottles. Because in Germany you can only return plastic bottles with a intact label but glass bottles are recognized by the machines using shape and weight. So this makes plastic bottles lose their return value much easier but glass bottle can go back into the system even after x years underwater.

For me this activity combines what I love: snorkeling, exploring, treasure hunting and helping the ecosystem. Besides that, I make money to fund to the OSCE Days 2019.


  • have fun
  • explore
  • find awesome stuff
  • get stupid rich … well maybe
  • try creating an open campaign/project
  • document everything

Social Media Profiles

How it is done

1. Gear

  • diving goggles
  • snorkel
  • fins
  • equipment / collection
  • go pro hero3 (lent from a @expanding-focus ) to document
    • with custom grip including 2 scrunchies found at expediton1
  • divingbag + carabiner hook + big plastic container as boje and collection station

2. Places

House lake Kulkiwitzer See Leipzig one of the best diving lakes in Germany. The clear water makes it much easy to cover a lot of ground.

On tour so far

  • Schlachtensee Berlin
  • Rhein River Basel
  • quarry lake Leipzig
  • Walensee Switzerland

3. Search and collect

I mostly look for unusual shapes and colors. The color leads to plastic trash as most bottle colors blend it. Any kind of net is useful to store the objects. I use my diving bag to store what I find because going back to the shore takes too much time. Also underwater storing will lead to some items floating away.

4. Clean

  • Remove mussels and other sea life that might have grown on the object on the place where you find.
  • Clean the bottle on site, many are full of sediments that should stay where they are.
  • Before returning the bottle make sure it is as clean as a bottle you would normally return. If that is not possible put it into glass recycling.

5. Return

  • cash in refundable bottles (only clean enough ones)
  • put the glass bottles into the recycling
  • plastics and other unusable material right now I put in the trash bins at the lake
  • keep any useful stuff that you found

6. Document

It started an Instagram Deeposits where I will post for now. I link this post to provide information and draw people to the forum.

Hashtags: I will use #take3forthesea #PickUp3 #deeposit … right now searching for more, any input is very welcome

I am planning to use Buffer or something similar to post regularly on multiple platforms.

Slogan first ideas

  • go deep & do good
  • go deep, find stuff, have fun

Social Media

  • I started taking pictures on expedition2 on 7 June and expedition3 on June 9
  • then I started choosing the picture
  • the real documentation start with this post on 10 June
  • I work on the picture and set up the social media page after work to be able to release everything before the OSCE days in Berlin where I will present deeposits


  • for the pictures I recommend the Go Pro Mode that take multiple pictures at once because it is hard to be steady underwater. But usually, I set it to 3 in 0.5 sec an one comes out fine,
  • Time consumption: choosing and cropping the picture takes a lot of time for me. For the first Videos is was ok because I did only minimal edits for the first one.


So far all in the south east area of the Kulkwitzer See

1 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig

  1. June 2018

Here I got the idea and didn’t have a camera to document with me.


  • 6 returnable glass bottles
  • 2 glass bottles
  • 1 plastic bottle
  • some plastic waste including about 8 pieces of disposable tableware

Notable Objects

  • a small garden shovel perfect for my balcony planting
  • 2 scrunchies used for securing the camera
  • a nice sock acting as go pro transport protection

Cash: 48 cents

2 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig

  1. June 2018
  • 1 refundable plastic bottle still with the label
  • 1 refundable beer can
  • 3 refundable glass bottles only, one will make its ways OSCE Days #berlin
  • 7 glass bottles
  • 1 can
  • a small bag full of plastic mostly packaging
  • a metal grid
  • a broken dog toy

Cash: 66 cents

3 & 3.5 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig

  1. June 2018
  • 3 returnable glass bottles
  • 1 glass big bottle somebody put on a tree

Notable Objects

  • some toys for Fritz
  • a fishing lure
  • some mean broken bottles
  • a big intact plastic water container

Cash: 24 cents

4 Schlachtensee Berlin


at the OSCEdays Berlin

  • 10 bottles with deposit
  • 4 glass bottles
  • some plastic

Notable Objects

  • a full beer

Cash: 80 cents

5 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


  • mostly plastic and other trash

Notable Objects

  • a bar stool

Cash: 0 cents

6 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


  • 1 glass bottle
  • a big pile of plastic trash

Notable Objects

  • a construction side lamp
  • a big plasitc basket
  • an old egg, but we did put it back

Cash: 8 cents

7 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


  • 7 glas bottles
  • broken glass
  • plastic

Notable Objects

  • 2 matching socks

Cash: 32 cents

8 Quarry lake Leipzig


  • old glass bottles
  • cans
  • plastic

Notable Objects

  • a heavy metall sink

Cash: 0 cents

9 Rhein Basel


  • 4 glass bottles
  • cans
  • plastic

Notable Objects

  • 2 full beers
  • a large white towel

Cash: 0 cents

10 Walensee Switzerland


  • no underwater finds only picking up shore trash

Cash: 0 cents

11 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


biggest find so far by far

  • 11 glass bottles
  • many cans
  • big pile of plastic

Notable Objects

  • 2 car tires
  • bike tire
  • bike front part
  • car license plate from Nürnberg

Cash: 73 cents

12 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


  • 2 bottles with deposit
  • some bottles
  • some plastic

Cash: 16 cents

13 Kulkwitzer See Leipzig


  • 9 bottles with deposit and a can with deposit
  • 7 glass bottle
  • some mean glass shards
  • a lot plastic
  • many cans

Notable Objects

  • a bowling ball
  • motorbike parts
  • a camping broken camping chair

Cash: 89 cents

Account Balance 20th of September: 4,36 €

this post is a work in progress I am still busy with editing and uploading all the photos

Getting involved

  • Help me improve this post, mainly the language
  • follow and share, help me share it, give tips for hashtags
  • Get wet and DiCoReDo: Dive Collect Return Document, post what you find here and on social media using the same hashtags
  • provide feedback
  • Do an expedition! Get wet, find stuff, cash in & document.


License for pictures

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Founding the Leipzig OSCE community
Deposits WWE - Wet Wake-up Expedtion at Schlachtensee