A full 90% of Americans say they recycle and reuse plastic bags. One German man, however, took the term “reusing” a little too literally and just received his day in court for scamming a bottle recycling machine out of thousands of dollars.
The man, a drink vendor in Cologne, Germany, manipulated one of his company’s drink machines to use the same bottle thousands of times. He did so by installing a magnet sensor and a small wooden tunnel, where he could insert one plastic bottle into the machine, receive the compensation, and retrieve the bottle without it getting shredded.
The cost of the contraption? $5,300 USD. He was able to extract $47,073 USD, which gave him a profit of $41,773 USD.
The unnamed man reported inserting one bottle into his machine 177,451 times to get this hefty profit. Luckily for him, the recycling company didn’t even bat an eye at this amount, and only became aware once they were tipped off by an undercover detective.
While it’s unknown how long it took the man to earn his reward, he did admit to having a radio by his machine while inserting the bottle all day.
The judge on the case described this exploitation as a “logistical master stroke,” and believed that the defendant must have “done nothing else every day other than attend to the machine.”
He also admitted that he did have a distraction. “I had a radio next to it because otherwise it was really boring,” the defendant replied, according to The Local.
However, the defendant’s lawyer put up a good fight, saying that even though her defendant broke the law, he did not invent the scam. He just simply copied it.
German newspaper Kölner Stadt Anzeiger reports that the recycling company the Deutsche Pfandsystem Gesellschaft is suffering losses in the millions because of this one man’s actions.
The man was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison and was convicted of professional deception.