They don’t even have to be your bottles: Plenty of people are too busy or lazy to bother returning a six-pack worth of beer or soda cans for 30 cents and simply leave them out for curbside pickup. It may not be trash day in your neighborhood, but it surely is somewhere. Fill up a 50-gallon trash bag with cast-off cans, and you can redeem them for about $12 – it’s just a start, but you can do it again and again, and all it takes is time and hustle.
It turns out that the German beer industry suffers from small-scale production. There are 1,000 little local beer companies in Germany, shielded from competition with each other because each German brewery has virtually a local monopoly, and shielded from competition with imports. The United States has 67 major beer breweries, producing 23 billion liters of beer per year. Germany has 1,000 major beer breweries, producing only half as much beer per year as the United States. That's to say that the average brewery in the U.S. produces 31 times more beer than the average brewery in Germany.