Aluminum Recycling Does Not Work Here

In Economy on July 30, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

When I lived in the States in 1993, I was 17 and I did not understand why there was a five-cent deposit on Sunkist aluminum cans. Why would anyone drink a .33L drink, which might take some two minutes or less, and then spend much longer time thinking where to put the empty can so that it can be returned later.

Then I saw, well – a homeless person – kind of odd in a place like Provo, Utah with a shopping cart full of the cans and I realized that one can plus one can plus one can…. equals many cans. That was, I repeat, in 1993 when recycling didn’t mean anything in the Czech Republic.

The Minister of Environment now wants to have a refund on plastic bottles. Those for which there are special containers and garbage cans. The minister feels we don’t recycle enough, and the numbers speak, too. He has been criticized for this idea but the truth is it should be tried first. People who recycle now might well have the time and will to bring the bottles to a store and get money for it. I would not mind giving the bottles to someone who collects them to make some extra money. It is being done in much more developed countries than the Czech Republic.

Aluminum recycling will NEVER work here. Really. NEVER. Beer cans will always end up among general waste. Reason? Simple. While a can is a symbol of drinking in the States, here in the Czech Republic most people buy soft drinks (and beer, in smaller extent) as “plan C”. Drinks in cans are extremely overpriced. Two cans of, say, Sprite cost only slightly less than a one-liter bottle.


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