Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Adventures in recycling

Filed under: — stan @ 5:45 pm

This year, I’ve been seeing a lot of public-service ads about how the bottle deposit has gone up to 5¢. This is because recycling rates in California have stayed low. And this is largely because they have made it monumentally difficult to get the deposit back.

They passed the bottle-deposit law back in 1987. At first it was 2¢, and almost nobody bothered to recycle. This was largely because there was no place to go to get the deposit back. So they raised it to 2½¢, and still, nobody recycled. At that time, they had a few machines outside grocery stores that would take bottles and cans. For every two, the machine would spit out a nickel. But it was slow, and the machines broke down a lot.

So now it’s up to 5¢, and I decided to try and see if it might actually be possible to get the deposit back now. So I looked up where I could go. There is a recycling center at a grocery store close to my office, so I went up there at lunch with 20 plastic bottles. The place is outside the store, on the edge of the parking lot. There was an attendent and a couple of homeless people there. It’s only open from 8:30 to 4:30. It smells bad. And then they wonder why only the homeless recycle bottles. Sheesh.

They have a machine that you can feed the bottles into. It scans them and counts them, and it’s pretty fast. So I fed it my 20 bottles. The instructions said to push the button when I was done. And it spit out a voucher for $1. That I had to take inside the store.

So I went inside the store and went to the customer service counter. They said I had to wait in a regular register line. So, after waiting in line, I finally got my damn dollar.

Was it worth it? I dunno. Given that it was a nice day and I just wanted to get out of the office anyway, maybe. And I rode my bike there, so it’s not like it cost me any gas money. But no matter how you slice it, it was a huge pain in the ass.

2 Responses to “Adventures in recycling”

  1. Jodi Says:

    I save mine up and often go to one of those machines at a place near my house that I like to call “scary Ralphs.” I made $8 after a recent party, mostly from cans and bottles I hadn’t purchased.

  2. Dave K. Says:

    Woah. total PITA indeed.

    Look at the bright side. You’re 1/6500 of the way towards a Specialized S-Works Tarmac =)

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