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Does Trader Joe’s Have Bottle Return? (Answered)

Does Trader Joe's Have Bottle Return

Trader Joe’s is well like for having grocery options that just cannot be found in other stores, and it’s corporate identity is one that is hard to duplicate. However, this simply means that as a shopper, some of the stores’ policies may not be easy to nail down. For example, you might be wondering: does Trader Joe’s have bottle return?

Bottle return is a policy wherein a grocery store may accept glass bottles that previously contained products which were purchased, cleaned, and returned by a customer rather than recycled independently. Trader Joe’s does accept bottle returns.

In this article we will cover what bottle return is, what Trader Joe’s Bottle Return policy is and covers, how to return bottles to Trader Joe’s, and what the general consumer attitude toward the practice of returning bottles actually is. We’ll even answer some frequently asked questions about bottle returns and Trader Joe’s after the conclusion!

Understanding Bottle Return

“Bottle Return” is a layman’s term for a policy that is sometimes upheld by grocery stores but also other retail agencies and even some state legislature across the United States. It has been known as “Container-Deposit,” when upheld by state legislation.

It basically requires money to be deposited on containers of beverages, either refillable or non-refillable, when that container is purchased. Then, the deposit can be returned when the bottle is brought back for recycling after use.

However, the term “bottle return” usually refers to a less strict, sometimes completely unlegislated practice. It simply means to return a recyclable bottle that used to hold a beverage to a grocery store or retail provider after drinking or using what was once inside.

 Typically, the store will require consumers to wash the container before bringing it back, and may offer compensation for their efforts to recycle. 

In most states, bottles that are covered by Container Deposit Legislations are the following types:

  • Aluminum
  • Plastic Resin
  • Bi-Metals
  • Glass
  • Cartons
  • Paper
  • Combination Materials

These are all dependent on the state which the person is trying to return a container in, and the policy of the place that sold it to you. 

Trader Joe’s Bottle Return Policy

Now that we know what a bottle return actually is, the question is, does Trader Joe’s honor bottle returns? What is the Trader Joe’s Bottle Return Policy?

Trader Joe’s will accept the return of bottles and aluminum cans after being purchased and emptied, and will even, in acceptable States, participate in buying these back for 5 cents each. The containers will usually be marked if they are eligible for the 5 cent payback upon return. 

Trader Joe’s, as a company, is very recycling-forward in corporate identity. In fact, one entire portion of their website is an extensive coverage of frequently asked and answered questions about recycling and how to recycle. 

Eligible containers include glass and aluminum bottles. Not only that, but Trader Joe’s is also known for taking any containers of alcohol back, even if they are open.

This includes beer, wine, and liquor. If the container is open or still half full, Trader Joe’s will still accept the return of the bottles without asking questions!

Process For Returning Bottles to Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s makes just about everything easy on their customers, from locating certain items to customer service interactions. Their policy for accepting returned bottles is no exception to this rule!

Trader Joe’s accepts returned glass bottles and aluminum cans that have been completely emptied, no receipt required.

Most store locations will even accept beverage receptacles that still have liquid inside, so washing is often not a problem either (although, with locations that offer the 5 cents in return for bottles, management reserves the right to ask for clean bottles.)

What this means is all that is needed to return bottles to Trader Joe’s is to walk into the store with your bottles or other beverage receptacles and hand them to the nearest customer service representative; there isn’t any need to ask for a manager in most cases, or present a receipt.

This is very different from some other locations such as Earth Fare, which is a grocery store that absolutely requires their heavy cream and milk bottles to be washed and returned within a specific time limit of the original purchase before they’ll accept the bottles back. 

Consumer Attitudes Toward Bottle Return

Bottle returns were gaining in terms of consumer awareness and participation before recent years. This was especially due to the legislature requiring most grocers to pay or provide an area for beverage containers to be returned as an encouragement for recycling. 

However, according to NewsRegister.com, these attitudes have changed since the global coronavirus pandemic. Despite the fact that many Public Health authorities in counties where bottle returns were not being honored never ordered a change in policy, grocery stores stopped accepting them. 

Hopefully, the return of widespread bottle returns is just around the corner thanks to the environmental sustainability of this policy. Bottle return policies have, in the past, increased recycling per state by as much as 90%!

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our FAQ section below!

Does Trader Joe’s Take Empty Bottles?

Yes, Trader Joe’s will accept empty bottles that have been purchased from them. 

What Is Bottle Deposit Trader Joe’s?

Bottle deposits are usually receptacles set up to receive returned bottles in the interest of recycling them for the sake of the planet’s healthy environment, ordered by state legislature.

Trader Joe’s will accept bottles in eligible states and pay 5 cents for them. 

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, Trader Joe’s has a healthy bottle return policy, meaning they will accept containers that used to hold beverages, even if they aren’t completely empty yet. This is largely due to Trader Joe’s policy of wanting consumers to feel free to try products and return them easily, and their personality of being very recycling-forward as a corporate identity.

Some Trader Joe’s will even pay 5 cents for restored glass or aluminum bottles, though this varies depending on location-by-location manager discretion. Trader Joe’s is so in favor of recycling and the impact it has on the environment that a large section of their website is devoted to informing customers on the subject.

We recommend returning not only bottles, but any salvageable containers to Trader Joe’s, as well as perusing their Recycling FAQ page to be informed on how to maintain a healthy planet environment!


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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