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Reuse and recycle used soda bottles and cans

By Shomik Ghosh |
After you down that Diet Coke or slam that Sprite, make sure the bottle or can finds its way into a recycling receptacle and not the trash.
Reuse and recycle used soda bottles and cans to rein in the amount of reusable waste entering landfills. Your efforts will also lessen the need for the energy-intensive production of plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans made from virgin materials.

How to recycle used soda bottles and cans

The existence of recycling programs and facilities in your community with play a big part in how you go about recycling your empties. The most common options include:
  • Curbside pick-up programs: If your community offers a curbside recycling program, use it. Nationwide, there are 9,000 curbside recycling programs and 500 recovered material facilities. Check with your local government or sanitation department to find recycling facilities available to you. Just be sure to follow their guidelines when preparing your weekly bin. Some require you to sort glass by color to maintain the quality of cullet.
  • Drop-off centers: If you don't receive curbside recycling, seek out a local recycling drop-off center, which you can find through Earth 911.
  • Bottle returns: Cart your spent cola cans and root beer bottles to a redemption center and/or return them directly to a retail store for a deposit refund. A handful of states have Bottle Bills, also known as beverage container deposit laws, that complement curbside and other recycling programs.
  • Multi-unit dwelling recycling program: If you live in an apartment or condo building without a designated area to dispose of recyclable items, be proactive and speak with your building's owner or superintendent about shoring up recycling efforts. And why not offer him or her a refreshing six-pack of natural soda to sweeten the deal?

How to reuse empty soda cans and bottles

Feeling crafty after that glass of ginger ale? Whether you prefer diet or regular, root beer or cream soda, giving a second life (functional or purely decorative) to spent bottles and cans in a creative fashion is a great green way to spruce up your home or apartment. Mosey on over to our craft idea picks for some inspiration: Uncertain what to do with that pesky case of aluminum empties from the Memorial Day barbecue? Give them a second life as objects d'art. Tesscar Aluminum Craft offers detailed plans on how to construct your own Dr. Pepper butterfly or Tab Monster Truck. Also, check out the dizzying array of products made from recycled aluminum and PET soda bottles.

Recycling and reusing used soda bottles and cans helps you go green because…

  • By recycling, you ensure that aluminum cans and plastic bottles are steered clear of landfills. One billion pounds of PET bottles and 51.5 billion aluminum cans (two thirds containing soft drinks and juices) were recovered in 2004.
  • The amount of energy and resources used to create aluminum cans and plastic bottles from recycled materials is less than the amount needed to create cans and bottles from virgin materials. Less energy means less pollution.
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