Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Recycling bottles?

Without curbside recycling our wine and beer bottle collection was growing. What to do?

We had a similar dilemma with our cardboard packing boxes and paper leftover from the US to Ghana move. The local moving company took the majority of the boxes and paper off our hands once we had unpacked. The remainder of boxes and paper were offered to our guard. He gladly snatched them up off our porch one night.

I made a short trip down near Makola Market a while ago to ogle some bike parts and to see first hand if the decongestion efforts of the AMA were having any affect. Decongestion of hawkers seems to be the hot-topic in the paper in February. Yes, you can actually move much easier. The bike part vendors were still rude and grabby, so I didn't buy any of their junk. I did, however, stumble across a side street that seems to be where one can buy all sorts of used packing boxes and paper.

I somewhat assumed that the packing material would be reused, recycled, and/or resold for just the same. Perfect! We also heard that sometimes Ghanaians will use cardboard for insulation in their houses. I was a bit surprised to hear that one might actually insulate a house in the tropics, but what do I know? Either way, I was glad to see it not simply being tossed into a landfill, or perhaps more likely for Ghana, burnt.

So, back to the bottles... I inquired at two local shops where we purchase wine. They looked at me like I had three heads, and suggested I simply toss them into the garbage. Beer bottles from Ghana Brewery and Coca-Cola Ghana are returned for repackaging/refill/resale. Buying Ghanaian beer or soft drinks requires somewhat of an odd negotiation and promise to return the bottles to the point of purchase. Not so for wine. Seems as though there should be plenty of wine bottles sitting around Accra.

I'm pretty sure the local bead industry uses crushed recycled glass to form new beads. SJD and I are planning a trip to Cedi Beads in a few weeks anyways, so I'll have few questions ready for them. Whether they purchase discarded glass, or get it free? If there is some local collection point in place? How many beads are produced from a single bottle? It will keep me distracted while SJD sifts through beads to purchase. Our friends just posted about their visit here.

Without any better idea in place, I set the current collection of 20 or so bottles on the front stoop one night. By 6AM the next morning, they were gone; I assume the guard snatched them up. I will have to ask him what he did with them.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Great insight... but what I would like to more about is the moving process from the US to Ghana. Did you use a commercial shipping company, was it an arm and a leg??? any suggestions for the adventurous spirit (with a 6 year old) about ways to make a transition of that magnitude run as smoothly as possible?