Bottle return runaround

By John Dance

Returning “empties” has become noticeably more difficult in the Glebe with the temporary closure of the Beer Store beside Kettleman’s and the permanent closure of the Isabella store.

So what’s to be done? You could simply throw them, cautiously, into the blue box, or you could give them to charities.

Another option is to fill your shed or garage with empties, hope that there remains room for other stuff and wait until the new “best in class” Beer Store at the 900 Bank Street location opens – but that would entail a wait of more than a year.

Or you could go to one of the Beer Stores that remain open. The 515 Somerset West location is closest but there are also Beer Stores near Bank and Walkley and in Elmvale and Vanier.

“The Beer Store is exploring how we could expand our return volumes through Beer Xpress delivery as well, to provide consumers with more return options,” says Bill Walker, spokesperson for the Beer Store.

A more generous option is to donate refundable bottles to BottleWorks, a social enterprise in support of Operation Come Home. “We provide paid employment and social support for youth who are at risk or experiencing homelessness,” says Samantha Haskins, the coordinator for BottleWorks.

“BottleWorks is a free commercial and residential service that collects empty alcohol containers from restaurants, hotels, event spaces and private residences in Ottawa on a regularly scheduled or on-call basis,” says Haskins.

Bottleworks will schedule pick-ups for bottles with a refundable value of $25 or more. Those interested in donating bottles can contact them via email at bottleworks@operationcomehome. ca or by calling 613-230-4663.

Also, several not-for-profit groups such as the Immaculata High School track team periodically conduct bottle drives and will happily remove your bottles.

Some residents always put refundable bottles and cans in their blue box to assist those who collect them for cash. Although the city’s rules for blue box use say “Empty wine, beer and spirit containers greater than 100 ml purchased in Ontario must be returned for refund at The Beer Store,” there is little enforcement of this rule.

On the other hand, “The city has levied fines against scavengers for removing cans from the blue bin,” says Marilyn Journeau, director of the city’s solid waste service. “Residents are encouraged not to place empty alcohol bottles and cans in their blue bin as the city does not receive any industry funding for the collection and processing of these materials.”

John Dance is an Old Ottawa East resident who takes a keen interest in the beauty and smooth functioning of the city, and who keeps Glebe Report readers informed about other important matters.

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