Created | Updated Dec 19, 2011
During the communist era all beer bottles in the eastern bloc were the same, although the beers themselves varied wildly. You bought your beer wherever you liked and dropped the empties off wherever it was convenient in order to get your deposit back. The empties then went to the nearest bottling plant, which washed them and used them again with a different label.
In the free world, where industry is supposedly more efficient and we have choice, beer bottles are all different. After drinking the contents some of us throw the empties away and some of us put them into a recycling bin. Then they are carried away, crushed, melted and made into new bottles which are then carried to a bottling plant.
Presumably energy is free in the free world?