Thursday, August 12, 2010

Return neighbours' bottles to store (Day 29)

I had an interesting encounter with a neighbour yesterday.  His eldest daughter and mine are the same age, and we often get the girls together to play.  He's a stay-at-home dad, so it is not unusual to see him walking around the neighbourhood with his kids in tow.

Yesterday, he was towing something completely different.

"Hey Jen", he called through my screen door, "come see what I have for your blog!"

Curious, I went to the door. There he was, with his daughter, and a wagon full of empty beer, wine and liquor bottles. 

"We found all of these on our street!"  Yesterday was blue bin recycle day.  He and his daughter had gone searching through the bins to see what finds could be had.

It turns out that he got the idea from someone else he knows.  Both families were trying to explain to their children about money, and explained that people often throw money, and acceptable recyclable materials, away.  They proceeded to demonstrate by collecting wine and beer bottles from recycling bins on their streets. 

In our city, wine and beer bottles are supposed to be returned to the liquor or beer store for recycling.  Residents are encouraged not to place these items in the blue box, as it will leave more space for other recyclable materials.  Here is a link to the Ontario Deposit Return Program, which is spearheading this initiative.   (  DH and I already take our wine and beer bottles back, so it never occurred to me that someone wouldn't do this.

My friend and his daughter netted about $5 worth of recyclables.  Not bad for a 10 minute walk up and down our street.   On our next blue box recycling day, I am going to take my kids for a walk and see if we can earn a little spending money in the name of the environment.


  1. In Calgary if you put deposit returnables into the blue bins, the city sorts it out and keeps the money. Last week my 12 year old was desperate for money - he went through bins (placed in the alley) the two days before pick up day and made over $50. Hmmmm If the same thing happens next week (he is already planning his route) I will really wonder about people.

  2. In Toronto there are people who we see like clock work in the neighbourhood the night before and the morning of recycle pick up, strolling the streets with shopping carts and bungle buggies. The only problem is that some people do not wait for the bins to be put out on the street but stroll between the houses looking in every bodies blue bins. so as long as you stay to the curb good luck hunting.


  3. Thanks, Nicole and PH. The city of Ottawa will sort it and keep the money, but according to their website, they save $600,000 per year if residents do the sorting themselves in the first place. I wonder how much money we can make? :)