Yet another ethical dilemma

I’ve written at length about the differences between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. One way I haven’t mentioned is that Massachusetts has a Return Law, mandating a five-cent deposit on canned and bottled beverages, and New Hampshire doesn’t.

A while, a supermarket here in Manchester, NHhad a huge deal on Coke — $2.00 a case. I stocked up like a madman, and I’m almost done with them.

But it wasn’t until I started actually drinking the sodas that I noticed that a truck must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Every single one of those cans had a Massachusetts deposit marking on it.

Now, I occasionally buy sodas in Massachusetts, so I occasionally get them with deposits. I usually toss them in with the New Hampshire ones, and every couple of months haul them down to the recycling center or give them to the homeless guy around the neighborhood.

This time, however, I find I have one and a half 30-gallon trash bags full of cans worth a nickel apiece if I take them down to Massachusetts. I normally don’t like going into Massachusetts on my own time, but for a few bucks it’d be worth it.

The only catch is, I know that no deposit was initially paid on the vast majority of them. Maybe on a dozen or so, max, but nowhere near all of them.

So I’m going to toss it out to you, the readers. Should I redeem them? Should I just toss them in with the New Hampshire cans, which are worth around 30 cents a pound (meaning that I maybe get five bucks every three months)? Should I give them to someone else to redeem in Massachusetts?

Just to keep things in perspective, I would estimate we’re talking five to ten dollars total here — and most likely a hell of a lot closer to five.

Update/clarification: while I avoid going into Massachusetts “off the clock” with a passion that borders on the religious, I do regularly travel to places in New Hampshire that border with the Bay State. Therefore, redeeming the cans would not be any great trouble or expense. And I just bought ANOTHER case of cans in NH with MA deposits…

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