Friday, December 2, 2011

Getting My Nickel Back

If you operate a gondola, pretty much anywhere in the world, chances are good that at the end of most cruises you find at least one empty bottle on board. 
It could be wine, champagne, sparkling cider, or even sake.

Some servizios provide their passengers with refreshment, while others take more of a BYOB approach. 
Heck, the passengers may have smuggled it aboard. 
I'm not here to talk about where these bottles come from, this is about where they are going once they become empty.

I'm also not going to talk about what should be done with a half-full bottle left on the boat (but if it's a good chianti, and you don't want it - feel free to bring it to my house).

If you are looking for a long expose on going green and saving the planet, that's also not gonna happen here.  The internet is already brimming with op-eds on how important it is to re-use our resources.  As much as I agree with all the philosophical concerns about recycling,
I tend to look at things from a more practical angle.

Practical, and some might even say "miserly".
Bottom line:
I want my dang nickel back!

"What's that?" you say.
Every time my company buys non-alcoholic beverages to serve on board our cruises, we pay the purchase price, plus a deposit.
In many cases it's about five cents per bottle.
here in California it's known as "California redemtion value".
You'll see "CRV" on most mainstream recyclable items in this state.
I'm sure other states have more clever names for roughly the same thing:
you buy it,
pay extra for the material that the bottle is made of,
and get your deposit back...
if and when you turn in the empty container.

Did you catch that second part?
yes, you pay extra for the material that the bottle (or can) is made of.
I don't know about you, but I am NOT a fan of "paying extra".
All I can think of is that someone's got my nickel!

Miserly?    Yes.
Practical?    Also yes.
I've got to feed my kids,
and while a nickel doesn't buy dinner - a lot of nickels does.
My last trip to the recycling center yielded about thirty bucks;
well worth the trouble - especially in this economy.

Of course I throw in the empty bottles and cans my family generates as well,
and the job of sorting must be done before going to the recycling center.

Some items say that they can be recycled (like HDPE milk jugs), and there are new types of recyclable plastics hitting the market all the time, but many centers only handle the main categories:
glass, aluminum, and PET (water and soda bottle plastic).
Another thing to note is that wine bottles do not get you a deposit back
(at least not in California).
If you're strictly out for money, you can either skip the wine and champagne bottles or find a bulk recycling center.
I'm sure there's better money in it, but that the extra margin involves more work. 
For me, it's about keeping this as a "quick errand" so it's easy and worthwhile.

I still bring the wine bottles.
By the time I sort CRV containers from non-CRV ones, it's just as easy to throw them in the back of my truck as it is to chuck them in the trash.
The recycling center is happy to "pass them along" for me (for no deposit).
I don't know if they are actually getting something for them, I just know that I'd rather see the glass go back into the system than end up in a landfill somewhere.

Any business owner in this economy should be looking at every single opportunity to help fortify their bottom line.
Recycling may not be in your original business model,
but hey - someone's got your nickels.
Get 'em back!

If you're running a gondola operation, and not recycling,
you may be missing out on an opportunity.

"Environmental concerns",
"Going green",
"saving the planet",
or just keeping the place we live a bit more tidy.
We could talk about all of the above topics, but like I said, I tend to take a more brass tacks approach.

I want my nickel back.

1 comment:

Tamás said...

The bear lays drunken under a tree as usual, smelling of whiskey and tobacco.

The hare passes by on his new bicycle and scolds him: Stop wasting your brain and your money! Quit drinking and soon you could save enough to buy something useful.

A month later the hare is riding his bike and the bear passes him in a Porsche.

- Wow, how did you save this much so soon?

- Returned the empty bottles!