Reusing the Bottle

glass coke bottles stacked into a truck

Sitting in a bamboo stall drinking soft-drink out of a glass bottle by the Philippine roadside is like an adventure. It’s oppressively hot and noisy and the overcrowded buses and trucks and tricycles dragging bamboo stems three times their length roar by. But the glass is thick and cold in your hand: somehow it feels more real.

I am transported back to the place of my kid-days, hunting the riverbanks and roadsides for glass soft drink bottles to exchange for five cents. In the Philippines they still do this, encouraging reuse of the bottles by charging a deposit on every purchase. Claim on return.

It’s been more than three years since I first arrived here and during this time I’ve seen those tiny plastic coke bottles infiltrate even the smallest of village stores as the glass bottles lose their appeal (I’m imagining cheaper production costs) and their durable crates are replaced with plastic stretch-wrapped bundles of plastic coke, plastic sprite and plastic orange royal.

Little plastic bottles clogging the waterways is something that makes me sad, so I’m happy to see the base of this truck still being filled with glass empties for cleaning and reuse.  Now to train myself to say no to drinking straws.

empty coke and sprite bottles ready for recycling

© 2017 Melinda J. Irvine

3 responses to “Reusing the Bottle”

  1. […] as we sit in a tricycle waiting for the driver to take us home, I flick through my cellphone of afternoon photos. The […]

  2. tlryder Avatar

    I managed to break the drinking straw habit through the most vain of ways. I noticed that they make the little vertical lines around my mouth deeper. Probably one of the few times when my vanity is good for the planet! 😀

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar

      It’s still a work in progress for me. In the Philippines they usually give you a straw without you asking and I often forget to say no straw when ordering. Baby steps I guess. Go you by the way. Mel.