Begging for bottles

T.J. Steele handles bottles at the Straub Brewery in St. Marys, Pa. The brewery has so few bottles it’s affecting production.

Picture: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Written by Joe Mandak for The Columbus Dispatch

ST. MARYS, Pa. — For years, it was the way breweries did business: Sell bottles, then take back the empties. It just made sense — especially to folks weaned in the lean days of the Great Depression and World War II — that bottles should be scrubbed and refilled, not thrown away.

These days, in a culture where nearly everything is disposable, recycling is a rite and energy costs are high, the decision of whether to toss tradition into the trash heap lies with one brewery about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
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