Expand-O-Matic
A crate that expands to hold from three bottles to six bottles.

Solution

This idea will work for two/four and four/eight bottle configurations as well. The material is a stiff plastic. The weight of the bottles themselves keep the bottom of the crate pressed down so the hinges will not flex up, when in either position. The grip area on the convex side is also a "key" for the bumps on the concave side to lock the crates in place when packed front to back. When in the expanded configuration, a click-fit keeps the side channels locked.

I would like these crates to be constructed with a recyclable material such as PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), which is currently used worldwide for bottles and other products. Hopefully, getting the color to be red will be feasible. Once a large number of these crates are in use, they themselves should be recycled into new crates as they are damaged and need to be replaced.

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