Beer Drinking Report: If I Had a Nickel for Every Beer I Drank…

Most Saturday mornings, my hands are sticky with stale beer.

And it isn’t because of the bender Friday that left me waking up in a haze on the Beer Drinker’s floor – that sort of behavior is reserved for Mr. X.

It’s thanks to an archaic Massachusetts law that started as an effort to promote recycling and has degenerated into a form of welfare available to anyone willing to push a shopping cart around neighborhoods on trash day’s eve and spend hours on end plugging cans and bottles into a machine outside the local liquor store.

I’m talking about the Massachusetts Bottle Bill. Passed in 1982, it calls for a deposit to be collected on certain containers that is “returned” to the buyer when they bring their cans or bottles to a redemption center. It was an effort to get people to recycle more. Maybe when they put this law in place, they needed it.

These days, I’ve got curbside recycling, most communities in the Commonwealth do. But instead of my empties going in the blue bin and letting the trash man take them away, I become my own trash man and take my empties to Downtown, where I get to stand next to a crazy homeless woman who screams at me in Haitian while I mindlessly plug bottles and cans mindlessly into a machine for a nickel a piece.

And no matter how much I wash those bottles and cans out, I inevitably get some sticky stale hops and barley on my hands. It’s not very rewarding work, but it is redeeming.

C’mon, Massachusetts legislature. Don’t try and tell me you have more important things to do than get me my nickel back.

Fredo is a contributor to the Beer Drinking Report.