Deposit on glass bottles?

I live in Georgia, where we are not yet required to separate our garbage (they keep telling us “it’s coming”)so everything goes into a little rolling “dumpster” whereupon once a week it is picked up by a garbage truck which compacts as it is driven. Now, we don’t have a “return deposit” offered on our empty bottles so they get taken to the dump with everything else.

I just looked on one of my bottles of Perrier and read that in the New England states, I can get a nickel back on every bottle I recycle. 1) Why only there? And 2) Why, if Georgia doesn’t have a return for deposit program, don’t they drive the bottles to where there is one and use the revenue generated for state programs? It doesn’t make sense to me to just crush them up if they can be used to make money. Am I missing something? is it cost-prohibitive to do this? What do y’all think?


We have a bottle deposit here in Michigan (I’m not sure how they decide which bottles to take deposit on - maybe its on stuff actually bottled in Michigan or a close vicinity).

I personally think it’s great. You pay .10 extra for each bottle you buy (i.e. Coke, beer, etc) but then you get that .10 back when you return the bottles for deposit. This also goes for the cans and plastic pop bottles too.

They probably don’t drive to a different state to deposit the bottles because I would imagine it’s illegal. You do pay for that deposit when you buy the beverage and then get it back when you bring the bottle back, thereby creating a void of that .10. If you didn't buy it in that state but brought the bottle back, you'd short the system by .10. Big deal, huh, but you can see what I mean. It’s actually illegal here in Michigan to try and return bottles that don’t have a Michigan “$.10 bottle deposit” thing on them.

I think it has accomplished two things:

  1. People are less likely to throw bottles out because they are basically little dimes waiting to happen; and
  2. For those that are thrown out, the street people have something they can collect to make a little cash.

One of the janitorial staff was telling me that whenever MSU has a home game (football), there are usually people walking all over campus picking up the left over bottles from the tailgate parties. He said it’s not difficult to make $500 in a weekend just picking up bottles/cans, etc.

Thanks Bunny Girl, for your reply. I had not considered that it would be illegal to get a deposit from a state from which the bottles were not bought. All the more reason why we should have our own glass recycling project.

Here in California, we get screwed. You pay a nickel per container, but you never get it back! When the bill was being debated in the legislature, the bottling and grocery store lobbies made sure that they would not have to take back our empties. If you take containers to a recycler, you get so much per pound, about a dollar for aluminum and five cents a pound for PET. Thats just the scrap value of the containers though; I presume the recyclers make their money on the refunds of the deposits. I think recyclers get the nickel back from the state.

Just to clear up any confusion (which there may not be anyway), It is most unlikely that returned galss bottles are re-used. It is too expensive to keep different brands seperate. They often are seperated by colour and then crushed to be made into new bottles.

Recycled glass is a valuable commodity for glass makers because it melts at a much lower temperature than the raw materials (mostly sand) alone. Using 10% crushed glass (called ‘frit’) in the mixture reduces fuel costs enormously because the sand and other stuff then dissolves in the melted glass long before it would otherwise melt.

BunnyGirl (and all others),
Deposit laws are stupid. It’s said (here in Michigan anyway) that the purpose of the deposit law is to keep Michigan beautiful. However if you listen to state representatives gripe about out-of-state returns (such as those from Ohio and Indiana) you can see the real reason we have a deposit law: the state get the difference between every bottle (can, etc.) returned and not returned. It’s a tax! Nothing more!

I for one would love to kiss this stupid law goodbye. Emtpies stink. The emtpy-return machines stink. The people who save their empties until they $20 worth stink. It’s embarrassing to stand and wait for a machine among gross people who accumulate so much stuff.

I don’t even bother anymore – it’s a whole lot simpler to throw them out. Let’s see, 12-beers a week, 52 weeks… it’s EASILY worth $62.40 of my time, patience, and cleanliness every year to throw the suckers in the trash. In case you hate me, I don’t waste time recyling, either, so there.

FYI – the “machines” I mentioned are automatic bottle and can counters. You put in the empty,it scans the UPC for eligibility (stores don’t accept them if they don’t sell them). The UPC is the same in ANY state, so yes, you can very easily bring in your out-of-state empties and get your cash. In the case of cans, many of the machines even crush them.

FYI-II – in Michigan, anything carbonated demands a deposit, and beer, too. This is a $0.10 deposit. Originally the 2-litres garnered $0.20, but it was too hard for the above-mentioned to figure out so it’s no longer true.

For those that remember Seinfeld, there was a good episode where Kramer and the Postman decided to use the mail truck to return thousands of empties in Michigan.

Per Balthisar:

Nice opinion. Ever been to Tennessee where they don’t have a bottle deposit? Bottles, cans, crap all over the road. It does help to keep Michigan beautiful because people have a greater tendency to return the bottles rather than throw them out their windows or beside trash barrels. It also helps keep them out of our landfills, reducing the amount of waste we send there.

RE: the same UPCs. Yeah, you can return them from out-of-state supplies but if you get caught, you will have to deal with a law that says it’s illegal.

I don’t like messing with the trouble of returnables either. However, because those empties are, as was so nicely put, “a dime waiting to happen,” I count on someone else doing it for me, as long as I don’t bury my empties in the trash. I take my office empties down and set them neatly on the edge of the public trash receptacle. It’s gone within fifteen minutes.

Even though I’m not fond of the trouble, I understand the benefit and don’t gripe.