Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  Beverage container recycling program
Date Implemented created in 1972, updated to create the Beverage Container Management Board (BCMB) on December 1, 1997
Beverages Covered All beverages; beer exemption repealed in 2001 and dairy exemption repealed in 2009
Containers Covered All sealed containers
Amount of Deposit Up to 1 litre: 10¢
Over 1 litre: 25¢
Reclamation System 217 permitted province-wide depots. Beer containers are collected through licencees, liquor stores and beer stores.
Handling Fee Fees range from 3.17¢ to 22.79¢.
Other Fees Container Recycling Fees: 0¢ to 10¢
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by distributor/bottler
Program Success

2017 return rates: [7]
Overall – 85.1%
Aluminum – 89.0%
Bi-Metal – 89.4%
Glass – 94.5%
Plastics (≥ litre)– 90.6%
Plastics (≤ litre)– 80.3%
Polycoat – 71.3%

2014 returns for plastic in Alberta (no granularity on individual product or material type within ‘plastic’ any more) are:
1 litre and less (all) Plastic: 76.0%
Over 1 litre (includes HDPE) Plastic: 88.7%
1 litre and less Gable Top: 58.0%
Over 1 litre Gable Top: 82.1%



System organization:

Alberta’s deposit-return system is operated by a consortium of 217[7] independent, owner-operated depots and overseen by the Alberta Beverage Container Management Board (ABCMB). The Board oversees the activities of Alberta bottle depots, beverage manufacturers and the two collection system agents for beverage manufacturers, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) and the Brewers Distribution Ltd. (BDL).

The Alberta Government does not supply any funding for the operation of the beverage container recycling system. Depot operators and beverage manufacturers fund the administrative costs of the BCMB through a levy based on the returns of beverage containers.

The Beverage Container Recycling Regulation,[5] sections 8 through 16 govern the setting of deposit fees, the refund structure, etc.


In this system a consumer is entitled to a cash refund of the full deposit paid on each container, as prescribed in the regulations. The manufacturer is required to pick up the containers from the depots and to reimburse the amount of the deposit paid to the consumer. The manufacturer also pays a handling charge for each container received by the depot operator.

The depot operators receive and sort containers at their premises. Wine and spirits containers are sorted by color. Refillables are sorted by type and manufacturer. Non-refillable soft drink containers are sorted by material type (aluminum, glass, plastic, composite, etc.) and color where applicable. The manufacturers are required to pick up their containers from every depot in the province and do so through a company they have created - the Alberta Beverage Container Recovery Corporation (ABCRC).

Depots collect all beverage containers except those for beer that is produced in the province. All imported beer containers, however, go into the depot system. Also, Big Rock, a small domestic brewer, has its containers picked up by the depot system. Beyond the depots, the system is operated on a daily basis by the ABCRC a common collection and processing agent formed by a consortium of soft drink and grocery businesses. ABCRC is responsible for collecting deposits from producers, paying refunds and handling fees, and collecting, processing and marketing scrap materials. Unredeemed deposits and scrap revenues accrue to ABCRC for management of the system.

Additional info.
• Albertans returned close to two billion beverage containers to bottle depots in 2012, resulting in a return rate of 82.4% for the year.
• A record 2.35 billion containers were sold last year in the province, up from 2.26 billion in 2011. Of those, 1.94 billion were returned to a depot in 2012, compared to 1.89 billionthe previous year, the highest number returned annually to date.
• The Beverage Container Management Board’s (BCMB) annual survey found that 98% of Alberta households surveyed are recycling their beverage containers, while 91% return them to a depot for refund.
• Awareness that beverage containers can be returned for a refund increased significantly for most types of containers since the 2012 survey.
• The BCMB’s new Advertising of Deposit Policy went into effect on January 1, 2012. All retailers are now required to clearly identify the deposit amount for beverage containers, separate from the price of the product.
• $1 million was provided to 87 depot operators across Alberta through the Recycling Infrastructure Partnership in 2012. The program provided depots with funding to place over 40,000 pieces of new recycling infrastructure (such as bins, bags and event trailers) in their communities6

See Benchmarking Evaluation of Alberta’s StewardshipProgram for Recycling Empty Beverage Containers [pdf] for an analysis of the Alberta deposit system


# - "Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers: Global Overview 2016." CM Consulting Incorporated, May 25, 2017.

1. Beverage Container Recycling Regulation, Alta. Reg. 101/1997, ss. 3(2).

2. Source: "2016 Annual Report." Beverage Container Management Board, June 21, 2017.

3. Beverage Container Recycling Regulation, Alta. Reg. 101/1997, para. 10(1)(b).

4. Alta. Reg. 101/1997

5. Alta. Reg. 101/1997

6. BCMB 2012 Annual Report


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Contact - Alberta


Beverage Container Management Board (BCMB)
Toll-Free: (888) 424-7671
Local: (780) 424-3193

Waste Not (Alberta Environment)
Phone: (780) 427-2700
(Toll Free by first dialing 310-0000)

Alberta's Recycling Hotline
1-800-463-6326 or 780-427-6982


Wil Corpuz
Member Services Coordinator
Alberta Bottle Depot Association

#202, 17850-105 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5S 2H5
Cell: 780-850-5326
Toll Free. 1-877-787-2232

Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC)
Phone: (403) 264-0170

Brewers Distributor Ltd
Phone: (403) 531 1000