Corn syrup has the dubious distinction of being bad for both our bodies and our land.

While studies have long tracked the parallel timelines between corn syrup's inclusion in mass market sodas and our expanding waistlines, environmentalists have also decried the damage done by single-crop monoculture, like most of the corn grown in America, that requires extra pesticides and depletes soil nutrients.

If you've been a consumer of carbonated corn sugar, a.k.a soda, at least you can redeem your environmental credentials. A little.


L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti this week announced that 1,000 of the 45- and 55-gallon barrels once used to store Coca-Cola soda syrup will be given away to residents so you can use them to capture rainwater.

The receptacles can cost as much as $100 each otherwise.

But what to do with that rainwater (so rare around these parts anyway)? It can be used for watering plants, irrigating lawns, washing cars and for other “nondrinking” uses, says Coca-Cola.

The company has been repurposing its used syrup barrels for years now. Collaborator the River Network, a collective of more than 2,000 grassroots organizations, says reusing rainwater can help preserve the health of natural waterways because it reduces runoff.

About 40 percent of the average American household's water use is outdoors, so this isn't just a drop in the bucket.

As part of its giveaway, the city is working with Coca-Cola and the organization Keep Los Angeles Beautiful. Garcetti:

Using rainwater for irrigation conserves precious drinking water and doesn't show up on your water bill. We must be innovative in addressing our drought, and in doing so, we'll lower our utility costs.

The mayor's office says you have to preregister to get your barrel. Here's when and where you can pick up the receptacles, along with “conversion kits,” according to Garcetti's people:

Saturday November 15, 2014
Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Ave, Valley Glen CA 91401

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Los Angeles Harbor College
1111 Figueroa Pl, Los Angeles CA 90744

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Los Angeles City College
855 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles CA 90029

Here's to hoping you can fill them up this winter.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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