Bottles vs. Cans at Our Little House

Bottle vs. Can

It took me over 20 years, but I believe I finally have my husband in the recycling mindset.

Score one for the environment!

I’ve written before about how, when my mother and I started using cloth bags, Dale, who then worked as a mechanic for a large landfill in the Kansas City metro, told me it wouldn’t help at all.

I used them anyway, participated in recycling programs and switched to as many organic and free-range foods as possible.

Last weekend, it was he who educated me about something we could be better about recycling.

I came home with a 12-pack of our favorite beer, a lime mix that is great with anything, but particularly one of our favorites, Mexican food.

The beer, to my knowledge, had only been sold in bottles, but he informed me they were now being sold in cans.

“Why didn’t you get the cans?” he asked.

My gut reaction, really originating in my taste buds: “But beer tastes better in bottles.”

His reaction to that astounded me. “But you usually use a glass anyway and we can recycle the cans.”

I couldn’t have been more proud.

I bought the cans this week and we’ll save the bottles for guests (the canned beer tasted even better).

Granted, what we consume in beer wouldn’t fill any landfill, even a small one, but we do like to come home from work and split a Chillata, a beer/clamato juice mixture my Godbrother turned us onto when they were visiting. We jokingly call it our “Hillbilly Martini” for our “cocktail hour,” and we sometimes follow that up with a lime beer with our dinner.

We’re still not environmentally perfect. What is big here is watching the evolution of my husband’s attitude that as two people we can make a difference for our world.

Progressive thinking in action.

Have you personally witnessed a change in attitude in someone close to you about the environment or recycling over the years?

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28 Responses

  1. Love the idea of the “hillbilly martini” Chillato, which sounds much yummier than a martini to me anyhow!

  2. MarthaAndMe says:

    We’ve always been able to turn in glass bottles for cash and I had no idea there were places where you couldn’t!

  3. Frugal Kiwi says:

    When I worked in an office a few years ago, I’d buy Coke in glass bottles (still made with sugar here in NZ instead of HFCS-heaven!) and have one now and then as a treat at work. Since there was no recycling there, I’d get up a good pile of bottles before I took them home to recycle. My co-workers thought I drank 5-6 a day! I shudder to think of how over-caffeinated I’d have been if I did.

  4. Susan says:

    Wish my husband was better at recycling…I’m always picking things out of the trash he throws in there and I know he knows better and that I will pull it out….he doesn’t have to walk but a few steps to the garage to put the recycles in a bin too…Drives me nuts. We have been told that in San Antonio that they plan to start another recycle program…our organics…yard clippings and such. Suppose to start sometime next year.
    I can remember as a kid here, picking up glass bottle and turning them in for money to get candy. I think Maine is one state that still does give refunds on some bottle. I have seen printed on some bottles like a 5 cent refund.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, I remember turning glass bottles back in too, Susan! That’s when you could get a whole little sack of candy for 25 cents! 🙂

  5. the she bear says:

    I love how recycling our vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. turn into compost for our garden. We also buy our milk in glass bottles and then return it for recycling when we buy another one.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, She Bear! Good hearing from you! We used to have a place in KC that sold milk in glass bottles. The chocolate one was heavenly! 🙂

  6. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    The city where my dad lives has had a recycling program for a number of years. The city issued him a large recycling bin that remained empty for a very long time. He now recycles some. Hooray for dad!

    Since I live in a rural area with limited recycling, I now take most of my recyclables when I go to visit and load up his bin. The metal stuff is taken to a local scrap metal salvage. There I can get a few pennies back and enjoy knowing that I’m sending very little to the landfill and doing what I can to help.

    • Kerri says:

      I think it’s great when older people, especially, get into recycling. They are more set in their ways and less likely to change. Yay for your dad and for V’s!

  7. Heather says:

    With prodding, I’ve gotten my husband to use cloth bags. But you’ve reminded me that I need to check into getting a glass recycling bin here.
    Thank you.

  8. Alexandra says:

    I have seen a dramatic difference in …. myself! I believe all this is intertwined, that buying bottles you can recycle rather than glass that you can’t does make a difference. We are each like a drop of water. Add them all together and you get a flood. My environmental transformation began with recycling. Now I regularly share environmental topics on Facebook and believe it is so important to get the word out. I am horrified by what is going on in PA and NY with hydro-fracking, pumping toxic chemicals into the watershed, and have been following that issue closely. Today the brave folks who have stood up to industry in an non-violent way, have been labeled “environmental extremists.” I say we all become environmental extremists if that is what it takes. Our planet is being trashed. So, please keep up the good work, here at your little house. Please follow up on whether a way to recycle the glass becomes available ….

  9. Margo says:

    I’m still responsible for most of the recyling (and reducing and reusing) done at our house. And I have to remember to get the canvas grocery bag back to my daughter’s car, but if it’s there, 99% of the time she’ll remember to use it.

  10. Kim says:

    I have a solution for you!

    Harrison has a recycling station on highway 65. From 9-5pm on weekdays and until noon on Saturdays, you can drive through and drop off any recycling- they take glass bottles, some plastics, cardboard, white and colored paper, newspaper… just about everything.

    It’s a drive-through building; you can even pop your trunk and have them unload it for you without getting out of the car if you like. And although it’s supposed to be for county residents only, no one’s ever asked me for ID… 😉

    There’s a big pile of compost there (more like mulch than compost, but nice for that purpose) free for the taking, too, if you have a truck and a need for it. Found a link for you:

    • Kerri says:

      Thank for the idea. I’ve thought of that, Kim, but was also told it was for Boone County residents only. Do our car tags have our county on them? I’ve never looked. Maybe that’s why they have never asked you. Our transfer station asks us every time we go for our permit, although they have to recognize us by now. It would be a long way to drive for us if we were just turned away (and not to environmentally friendly for a wasted trip!) 🙂

      • Kim says:

        No, no county listed on the tags… and if they somehow magically sensed you weren’t from the county, you could come “donate” your glass to me. They pick it up for free at my house once a month.

  11. Kathleen Winn says:

    One of the things we will miss about living in the city (there aren’t many) is curbside recycling and convenient drop boxes for glass. David drinks a beer that only comes in bottles and we will now have to take them to town for recycling. He is actually thinking of setting up a tap at home so that we don’t have to mess with bottles. Congratulations on bringing Dale around to the “green” mindset!

    • Kerri says:

      At least you do live within an hour’s drive of a city that will take glass, that’s something to be thankful for. There’s a lot of inconvenience in the country (as you know, we do not even have any trash pick up and have to take it to our local VFD on Wednesday nights to go to the transfer station), but the payoff is worth it in the natural benefits.

  12. Olivia says:

    I guess I am a little confused about how cans are better? Maybe it’s because here in Canada we return both bottles AND cans for refunds and they are then either recycled or re-used (bottles are re-used so are, therefore, better for the environment). Cans are recycled, so are the second choice. In fact, until recently, here in Prince Edward Island we could only get bottles for everything. A year or 2 ago they introduced cans, unfortunately. I think, environmentally speaking, Canada is way ahead of the U.S. as we have been re-using, recycling and composting for a very long time. All our “waste” MUST be sorted into recycling, compost, and waste – different bins for each. If the pickup truck sees anything “wrong” in your bin, they issue a tag and often refuse to pick it up at all so we are careful about our sorting. We have very little waste, in fact.

    • Kerri says:

      Sorry, Olivia, for the confusion. I sometimes forget I’m writing to an international audience. You’re right, Canada, as well as most of the developed world is way ahead of the U.S. in this regard. In the U.S., it all boils down to money. In the 1990s, we could find recycling for almost everything. Unfortunately, I think about 10 years ago, many recyclers (who again, only do it if they can gain a profit), stopped taking glass because it wasn’t worth the cost to mess with it. I now know from Kathleen, who has found at least one place in KC to take bottles, the trend might be reversing again. While our small town transfer station has come a long way in even taking recycling, they will not take glass. We have no where that I know of, within a 6 hour drive to KC, to take glass.

  13. V Schoenwald says:

    Touche’ Kerri, lol
    My dad does (shock) save #1 & 2 bottles, after I yapped at him for a while. I got him to start saving cans, both tin and alum a little later.
    I have to chuckle though, he gripes that our recycling doesn’t take the #5’s. I have called several times about this, but I guess, alas, where we are at, they don’t have a viable market?
    Anyway, I think that you got one up on you this time, Kerri Kerri-0 Dale-1
    Have a great rest of the week and the weekend, the hillbilly martini sounds very refreshing.

    • Kerri says:

      I’m glad they even take any bottles, V. Yes, the Hillbilly Martinis are very refreshing, thanks. You have a good weekend, too! 🙂