You can get soda in cans and plastic bottles here, but it’s pricey — almost two dollars for a can of Coke Zero, for instance, and about five dollars for a two liter bottle. Regular coke is cheaper, maybe a dollar for a can and a few dollars for a two liter bottle. Still, the price isn’t the only problem. There’s also no way to recycle cans and bottles, which makes it hard for me to justify buying them. The most economical and environmentally friendly way to stock up on soda for your house is to use glass bottles. It’s a small investment up front because you buy the bottles, but refilling them costs only about 30 cents or so. And they’ll be used over and over again.
Further information from a really interesting article about Coke’s presence on the continent: “In Africa, most soft drinks are sold in returnable glass bottles. In Coke’s plants they are refilled as many as 70 times each before they’re recycled, depending how far the bottler chooses to stretch the glass. Returnable bottles help keep prices down so the company can reach more of what it calls ‘economically diverse’ customers. Consumers, in effect, pay only for the liquid in the bottle.”
You pay for the liquid in the bottle if you drink the Coke on site and leave the bottle behind, which a lot of people do. But if you want to bring the bottles home with you, you must buy them. Bottles are sold by crates of 24, like this:
When empty, you bring your crate back to one of many bottling shops around town where you swap your empty bottles for freshly filled ones.
And freshly filled ones are delicious, if I do say so myself. There’s nothing like soda from a glass bottle (not to mention real sugar rather than corn syrup), which is why we’ve already consumed, well, quite a few. We’ve been saving the bottle caps, and I’m a little scared to see how many of them we have by the end of our two years here…