So we grew up in Alberta. In Alberta, we need to be rewarded for recycling. Unless you're my mum (and yes, I know that plenty of you recycle, in fact, some of you PAY to recycle, but it doesn't sound as good in my story), all the sorting and storing and carrying just doesn't appeal.
Unless of course, you're talking bottles and cans...because THOSE get you "free money". Sure you already paid that money, but it was at least a few days ago (and most likely, months ago). So everything gets piled into boxes and bags and it's off to the ever popular and wonderful smelling bottle depot.
There is no stranger place than the bottle depot. Millionaires next to homeless people...everyone with their stinky bottles and cans, waiting for their few dollars.
But I digress.
It is done differently in Ontario. Your pop cans, pop bottles and even wine bottles just get collected with all of your other "blue box" recyclables and are picked up "curbside" every second week (black box one week, blue box the next). Beer bottles and cans can be returned to "The Beer Store" (seriously, it's called that), but that is all.
We had no idea....we were saving our cans and bottles for when we rented a car and were going to return them all in one fell swoop, hoping to leave the bottle depot with at least $10.
How would we have known about this "crazy Ontario custom"? I'm not sure, but perhaps there are a few things that should have tipped us off:
- We should have noticed that we weren't paying a deposit. (honestly, how did we miss that?)
- We should have thought to ourselves "I wonder why there are so many cans and bottles in people's blue boxes" (instead we figured they were lazy...but in thinking about it further, we live in a building full of students, of COURSE they aren't too lazy to get that money back)
- And here's the kicker: I should have been tipped off when I googled "bottle depots Ottawa" and the first hit was "Calgary Recycling at Bottle Depots" (please make note of the second hit as well, one of those drop spots- not that far from our place...in fact, it is accross the street from "our" Loblaws)
It was a glorious but somewhat redfaced day when we finally put all those cans and bottles into our blue box. I'm sure the recyle man picked up that blue box, piled with our diet pepsi with lime empties and thought to himself "I sure wish I had been invited to this party".