When you buy bottled water, or soft drinks, or beer in californaia, there's an extra tax you have to pay called CRV. Normal countries (and, indeed, many other states in the US) have a system of deposits.
If you're buying cheap bottled water, than it's a lot, proportionally. But if you're buying expensive beer, then not so much. It's *five cents* a bottle/can. (Apparently it's ten cents for big bottles, but I've never bought any of them, as far as I know.)
CRV is *like* a deposit, except you don't bring empties back to where you got them from. Instead you bring them back to these dedicated depots. And you queue for half an hour, and eventually they weigh your stuff and give you some percentage of what you're entitled to.
I don't actually know this first hand though: I haven't actually *been* to one of these places. I figure it's not really worth my while. I should go, but I don't. We don't use that much stuff with CRV, anyway: we don't drink much coke, I don't drink *that* much beer, and we don't drink much bottled water. So we just put all that stuff in our recycling bin.
Of course, the UK doesn't do anything like this. The US - California anyway - is *way* ahead of the UK and Ireland when it comes to recycling! (Assuming you think that recycling is a Good Thing - which I mostly do, even when it's economically wasteful. (What can I say? Green is the new religion.))
Oh, there's no CRV on wine. Result.