No that isn't trash, it is $5.30 of free money with almost no effort. Well, not exactly free. I paid for it and for years I've been throwing it away even though I recycled as much as possible.
Our family has been an advocate of recycling long before it became so convenient. Sure, there have been cash deposits on soda bottles for years, but we used to make a special effort to take all of our glass, aluminum, cardboard etc. to a local recycling center. We didn't get any money for it and it certainly was a lot harder than just throwing it in the trash. Nevertheless it was the right thing to do and it was a good lesson to learn as a kid.
Today (fortunately) we have separate recycle bins that are picked up right next to the trash every week and it couldn't be simpler. I'm still shocked that people don't pay more attention to recycling even now.
Sometimes people need a little monetary incentive to do the right thing. Look carefully at the side of your soda bottle and you might see some interesting fine print. Look for "CA CASH REFUND" or "CA CRV":
I'll save you the trouble: If you live in the US states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oregon, or Vermont you get 5 cents per bottle (or aluminum can). If you live in Michigan you get 10 cents! Hopefully the other states have similar programs.
Here is a little bit more information about the California recycling program here and here. This money is not a government handout, it is a tax that is added to the purchase price and eventually refunded to you. Of course you only get it if you personally return bottles to claim it!
What, you don't know where to take the bottles? No problem, if you live in California, just enter your zip code to find the nearest recycling center.
Okay, 5 cents (for small bottles or cans) is not exactly a huge amount, but it adds up fast. As an experiment I started saving up all of our cash redeemable recyclables for a little over a month. Pretty soon the bottles and cans were piling up (we drink..., okay, I drink too much soda). I grabbed a couple of garbage bags and quickly sorted the cans from the bottles. Fortunately my recycling center is conveniently located right next to my grocery store, so no hassle for me. I had saved $5.30 which I used to reduce my grocery bill!
Given that it is super easy to save up those cans and bottles, why not give it a try? If I saved $5 a month, that adds up to about $60 per year without any real effort.
Here is another thing to consider: if you don't do it you can be sure that your recycle company is doing it for you (and not giving any discount on your Garbage bill!). If I do it, it is like getting two free months of my Garbage service per year!
Not exactly exciting, but why throw away your money?