Saturday, April 08, 2006

when albertans move to ontario

I've been meaning to tell you about this...

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:
  1. We should have noticed that we weren't paying a deposit. (honestly, how did we miss that?)
  2. 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)
  3. 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 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".


elle said...

The Flip Side.

When I moved out to B.C. from Toronto I was completely overwhelmed and confused by what seemed to me to be this insane custom of paying bottle deposits and then having to return bottles (and juice containers) to the store for small amounts of change. It took a few months before I did it because it all just seemed too ridiculous to me to be true. Personally I prefer the Ontario way of doing things - but maybe that's just my Central/Eastern Canadain bias coming through.

Evey said...

When I moved to Seattle it took me a long time to get used to the whole no bottle return thing. It made me sad for a while. It was hard getting used to either recylcing the bottles and cans or just throwing them out.

You can only imagine my excitment when we moved to Boston and I learned that once again I could go to the bottle depot! YIPPEE! The only thing that sucks is they don't take wine bottles here only things that are carbonated. Which sucks cause we drink a lot of wine. Oh well!

Fred said...

Having done the exact opposite move (Ottawa to Calgary) I couldn't figure out who was going to pick up the bottles and cans? What? You want me to recycle by taking stuff to a stinky recycling depot? What you want me to stand in line with millionaires? Obvioulsy Alberta is not serious about recycling if they rely upon the goodness of people to do all this work?! 6 years and I still don't like it!

K said...

I much prefer it this way...I would rather just put the bottles and cans in the blue box and forget about them! The choices: the wasp stings at the smelly bottle depot or blue box on the curb? I think I know the answer....

--Nathan-- said...

i think we need to do what china does. everything goes into the garbage and the gabarge goes to some place where people sort through everything and everything that can be recycled, is. Also there are people on bikes asking for your cardboard and they are willing to pay. also i dont think i lasted walking with an empty pop bottle for more than two minutes before someone asked if they could have it.

revswife said...

When I moved from B.C to Alberta I had quite the experience.
We used to take our bottles to the grocery store to return for money. So, when we moved to Alberta, I hauled in three trash bags of bottles to the local Safeway.
Well, much to my shame, they only take them at the bottle depot here. The girl at the customer service in the Safeway so happily told me that through her laughter. Geez.