{Eco Inspirations} Minnesota’s Message in a Bottleâ„¢

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to drive for many miles with a banana peel on the floor of my car or a plastic bottle in the cup holder, just so I could compost or recycle it at home. I admit, I’m a bit of a greenie. My husband, not so much. Every time we stop, he makes sure to empty the car of unwanted items, whether they are recyclable or not. (I can’t get him to leave our travel blanket or cooler for groceries in the car either, but that is another story.) To many drivers, the fact that there is no recycling bin at the gas station or store does not keep them from discarding items while away from home.

Message in a Bottleâ„¢

Thanks to the efforts of the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s (RAM) and the Minnesota Beverage Association’s Message in a Bottleâ„¢ program, now my guy and everyone else can recycle their bottles and cans at gas stations, car washes, and other locations across the state. Their giant recycled-plastic, soda bottle-shaped collection receptacles are placed prominently in prime locations,  free of charge. They sport photos of beverage containers and the slogan, “Stop treating us like garbage.” Finally, we can.

Benefiting the Environment

Recently, the program has expanded greatly adding collection bottles at many more locations. The program is now available in 15 communities in Minnesota including Duluth, which is near my home. There is no longer an excuse to throw away a can or bottle at the gas station.

“The expansion…will have a great impact on recycling, as well as green job creation,” said RAM’s executive director Ellen Telander.

According to Maggie Mattacola, Director of Marketing and Communications at RAM, each convenience store where the giant bottles are placed will collect on average 2000 pounds of recylables per year. The program has recycled one million pounds annually since its inception in 2007.

Benefiting Communities & People

The unique Message in a Bottleâ„¢ program not only benefits the environment, but also individuals in the communities where collections are taking place. The program has partnered with ProAct Inc., WACOSA, and other organizations to employ people with disabilities to collect and sort the recyclables. This provides jobs and dignity to many.

“We are pleased to be able to work with this significant recycling effort to benefit the community,” said Steven Ditschler, ProAct president and CEO. “The additional employment options this project makes available to the individuals we serve is valued and appreciated.”

Not a bad reward for not throwing away an aluminum can.

If you live in Minnesota and would like a collection bottle for your business or organization contact the Recycling Association of Minnesota.  If you don’t, what could you do to promote recycling away from home in your community?


This post was written by Sara of WormeWoole

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  1. This is awesome! Thanks for a great article!

  2. What an awesome program. I would love to see this nationwide!