As I noticed the growing pile of old milk cartons and apple juice containers in the back of my van, I had a thought. Yes, shocking, I know. A thought. From me. Yes. I'll give you a moment to recover. Now, I understand that Alberta is not unique in that in Alberta you are required to pay, at the time of purchase, a deposit on beverage containers. You know, milk jugs, pop cans, beer bottles, juice boxes, that sort of thing. We're even pretty good at it here - we've got an 81% return rate, which seems pretty good. I just think we can do better.

Many of the "quick service restaurants" (i.e., fast food joints) that I've been to (far too often) offer alternatives to the fountain drinks for people that don't want to kill themselves with Coke or Sprite or whatever, but still want to kill themselves with fast food. These options are usually sold in ready to serve containers, the kind with a $0.10 deposit. The only place I can recall that actually has somewhere other than the trash to put these is the mall. Everywhere else, they either get abandoned on the table, wherever the trays go, or, ultimately, in the garbage (and I suspect that most employees cleaning up will take the ones on the table or with the trays and trash them). This seems like such a simple problem to fix. Get the restaurants to put a bin for them near the garbage (a single bin located somewhere else in the restaurant won't work as well, people are too lazy). Heck, fund it through the levies on the containers - it's gotta be cheaper than billboards and TV ads. And the restaurant operators probably wouldn't mind it, either, if they got to keep the refunds on the containers (after the bins were paid for). How many Happy Meal milk cartons would have to come back to pay for some bins around Mickey Dee's? The restaurants win (they get to look environmentally conscious, they get to keep the deposit money once the implementation costs are covered), the ABCRC wins (they get the containers back), everybody wins (since the ABCRC doesn't take in tax money, and less garbage is good for just about everybody).


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