Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three birds with one stone: the 105th anniversary of bottle recycling.

According to Feb 19, 2011 online issue of Berliner Zeitung, glass bottle recycling was invented and promoted by Carl Benz, of the Mercedes Benz fame, in the early 20th century. Concerned with broken glass that punctured car tires on the streets, the entrepreneur proposed to pay 2 phennings for a returned beer bottle. German beer manufacturers, who at the time began experiencing a shortage of empty containers, supported the idea, and the program became an almost overnight commercial success. As a result, car enthusiasts got into fewer accidents, beer enthusiasts got more money in their pockets, and beer producers got a cheap source of empty bottles. Win-win-win-... Eventually Carl Benz's invention served as a prototype for many other successful recycling programs: from paper, to metal, to plastic.

So, if somebody tells you "There's no such thing as a free lunch," it means he didn't spend enough time thinking about a creative solution.

tags: creativity, trade-off, problem, solution, invention, innovation, inertia, psychology


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