I made another $2.00 today

March 17, 2008

I’ve been had. Conned. Bamboozled, even. All this time I thought Maine was giving away free money.  All “putting its money where its mouth is.” All, “this is how we give back.” Like a smaller eco-friendly cute-state version of the upcoming “boost the economy” checks. Check this out:


I’ve never lived in a place that gives you money back for bottles. Heck, I’ve spent the last 11 years living in a city with one of the worst recycling programs in the nation. So I got all excited when I got to Maine and learned that for every bottle and can I turn in at the “bottle reclamation center,” I get 5 cents back. Do you have any idea how much diet coke I drink? That’s a college education, right there. Three weeks ago I turned in 20 bottles and I got a whole dollar back. A dollar! That I didn’t have before. Illinois wouldn’t have given me a dollar. I could almost afford to buy another bottle of diet coke with money like that. I was very proud of that dollar.

But wait just a minute. The joke IS ON ME. It turns out that free money ain’t so free. You see this????


Do you see that little phrase on the receipt? That’s right. BOTTLE DEPOSIT. Turns out they charge you 5 cents extra when you buy the bottle in the first place. CHUMP CHANGE.




  1. Yes! Having lived in Iowa, I think it’s an ingenious plan. Those motivated by money will return their bottles. Those that could care less pass the 5 cents on to someone else. I’ve always wondered why IL is not a five and dime state. I think really it’s what it would take to get some people to recycle.

  2. I will be the first to admit that I am a mercenary recycler. If Illinois got on the five cent bandwagon I’d not only be recycling my cans, but everyone else’s as well. Also they would need to guarantee me that they are really recycling in the first place. I am still of the suspicion that a huge majority of IL’s recycled goods wind up in a landfill….my faith was shaken by the whole “blue bag” program that went nowhere….


  4. I lived in Michigan where you used to get (I’m not sure about it now) 10 cents for each bottle. I bought my diner lunches by collecting bottles from Wayne State University campus where I was in college. I’d run around on my unicycle looking through trash bags. It brings back fond memories of scrounging through the trash actually. It definitely helps with the whole recycling thing I’d say. Homeless people carry bags of bottles around and clean up after those who don’t care as much about the pittance of money.

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