I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0041

Do you have those bottle people in your neighborhood? You know those people that come around and collect empty wine bottles and beer cans?

These guys.

We’ve got a few of them in my neighborhood. Some I just see now and again and don’t really recognize but some I see almost every day while walking the dog. This morning there was a standoff between two of the regulars. The guy with the wheely cart that looks kind of like an uglier, weirder Kurt Cobain

He looks kinda like this.

was standing facing a fence chain smoking.

And the little old Chinese lady with the shopping cart

She looks exactly like this.

was up the street sitting on the curb yelling at him in Chinese. I’m not sure if he was just ignoring her or holding back a psychotic episode but he looked like he was in a bad place. Eventually a construction worker that was working on the house where Kurt was standing came out and seemed to defuse the situation somewhat. He asked both parties what they were doing. Kurt mumbled something about smoking and Chinese lady shouted some more in Chinese. The construction guy then fell back on his well honed standoff training and told them both to Get lost!

If only someone had said that to David Koresh, this never would have happened.

But this whole neighborhood-cat-like bottle collector standoff was bound to have happened sooner or later. No one likes someone honing in on their racket. There are only so many bottles and cans for the picking. The thing I don’t get is how they can be out there every single day. It’s like a job to them. Sure I guess there’s the fresh air and the exercise. And it’s nice to be your own boss. You can do what you want when you want how you want. Like Dr. Fad!

Today I send out 40,000 Whacky Wall Walkers while wearing only lobster bib and boner.

But can you really make a living doing that? I always figured it was for people looking for a quick bit of money but who knows. Maybe they know something that I don’t Maybe it’s a lucrative business. Maybe the real Kurt Cobain should have picked up bottles and cans instead of picking up a guitar. He was good at picking up garbage.

I don’t know. What do you think Magic Internet?

Question 41: Can you make a living collecting empty bottles and cans?

Magic Internet Answer: To answer this question we must question the factors involved. Firstly, what is the monetary value of the alcoholic beverage containers being collected? Before February 5th, 2007 only beer bottles and cans were returnable at Ontario Beer Stores. But under the new Ontario Deposit Return Program all wine, beer and spirit bottles are returnable. The value of these containers is as follows:

Containers 631mls or over carry a $0.20 deposit

Containers less than 631mls but more than 100 ml. (including cans) carry a $0.10 deposit.

Containers less than 100mls are worthless.

Next we must factor in how many of these containers can be collected in an hour. If a collector spends 3-5 minutes per household and collects an average of 4 containers at each stop they should be able to collect an average of 60 containers per hour. Now if we are generous and say that one quarter of these containers holds more than 631 mls then the average hourly monetary gain will be $7.50. Well below the current Ontario minimum wage of $10.25 an hour but still possibly enough to live on. But an 8 hour day of collecting would amount to 480 containers collected over some 120 locations. Though it may be possible to visit this many locations by following a daily refuse pick up route one would need a means of transporting all said containers with them and then transporting them to the Beer Store for deposit. The sheer volume of 480 assorted beverage containers would require a large cart or wagon that would be difficult to handle thus slowing down process.

This lady could help make the cans more manageable. Course you might need another cart for hers.

Bonus: The look on the host’s face.

That is truly frightening Johnny. The final problem in full time container collection is that the Beer Store will only accept a maximum of 120 containers for deposit per visit. So in order to deposit all 480 containers in one day you would have to visit somewhere between 2-4 Beer Stores per day. This would not only cut into your daily pick up schedule and cause you to lose containers but could easily turn your 8 hour day into 10. So on final analysis, yes you could make a living collecting empty bottles and cans but you would have to work long hours for less than minimum wage.

Hmm. All of a sudden picking up a guitar does sound like a more lucrative option. Unless you’re in the The Zit Remedy.

Thanks MI!

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