Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  The Newfoundland and Labrador Used Beverage Container Recycling Program (colloquially known as Greenback Trash to Cash Program).
Date Implemented Enacted 1996; 
Date Enacted Implemented 1997; Updated 2003
Beverages Covered All beverages except milk and refillable containers
Containers Covered All containers ≤ 5L capacity[1]
Amount of Deposit Non alcoholic: 8¢
Alcoholic: 20¢ [3]
(Partially refundable)
Reclamation System 40 main depots, 16 sub-depots, and 20 mobile collection services
Handling Fee 4.25¢
Other Fees 3¢ is kept on the non-alcoholic bottles, a dime on the alcoholic. [4]
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by government organization (Multi-Materials Stewardship Board) and used to offset costs. Surplus is placed in provincial trust fund. [2]
Redemption Rate

Refillable beer: 95%
Domestic beer cans: 54.6%
OVERALL: 68%[2]

Program Success

2014-15 Return Rates: [6]

  • Aluminum Cans: 64%
  • Glass: 62.2%
  • PET: 65.4%
  • Other Plastic: 37.5%
  • Bi-Metal: 52.9%
  • Gable/ Tetra Pak: 44.7%

2016 Return Rates [7]:

  • Total Return Rate: 61.6%
  • Aluminum Cans 64.7%
  • Glass 66.0%
  • PET 65.2%
  • Other Plastic 17.6%
  • Bimetal 52.9%
  • Gable/Tetra Pak 46.4%
Complementary Recycling Programs

A few communities have individual recovery programs.



The beverage container deposit-refund program is regulated under the provisions of the Waste Management Regulations, made under the Environmental Protection Act. On January 15, 1997, the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) - a nine member board appointed by the Minister of the Department of Environment and Labour - launched the "Greenback Trash to Cash Program," as part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Waste Management Regulations with the goal of diverting beverage containers from landfills for recycing. This is a province-wide deposit-return system for the recovery and recycling of all ready-to-serve beverage containers (excluding domestic beer, milk, infant formulas and containers larger than 5 litres). [5]

Consumers pay a 20 cent deposit on alcoholic beverage containers (except for beer) and a 8 cent deposit on non-alcoholic beverage containers. Consumers receive a refund of 10 cents and 5 cents respectively on the return of the containers. Thirty-seven "Green Depots" have been established throughout the province to collect the containers and issue refunds. Each depot is a privately run business which generates its revenues through beverage containers returned to the depot. In addition, some satellite units and sub-depots have been set up in remote areas to ensure people have access to recycling facilities.

The MMSB has contracted with NewBRI (Newfoundland Beverage Recovery Inc.) to run the day-to-day operations of the deposit-return system. NewBRI is a board-run, non-profit organization consisting of representatives from the beverage industry. NewBRI is responsible for setting up the Green Depots, paying refunds and handling fees to Depot operators, as well as overseeing the collecting, processing, and marketing of the materials. Unredeemed deposits and scrap values accrued through the program are used to maintain its operation.

When the half-back deposit-return system was started the government set target recovery rates for the program. In January 1998, the program reached the projected recovery rate of 50% (85 million containers). For the subsequent three years, the recovery rate objectives increase by 10% increments to the target recovery rate of 80% by January 2001.

Beer System

Brewers operate an independent deposit-return system.
Beer is exempt from the depot system under the Waste Management Regulations but its containers are handled through an independent return-to-retail system. Beer is sold through corner stores and two Brewers Retail Inc. (BRI) stores in St. John's. Beer is sent to 27 wholesalers who then deliver to corner stores and two BRI outlets. Containers are fully refunded at these locations.

The wholesalers are paid a handling fee for the empties which are picked up at the retailer. Beer cans go into the Green Depot system; only beer bottles are separate. Newfoundland is somewhat unique in that the retailers are only required to refund beer on a one-for-one basis. This means that if a customer buys a 12 pack they will get a full refund on 12 empties. Anything beyond that can be negotiated between the retailer and the customer. Some customers have returned beer bottles to NewBRI Green Depots, but are told that they will only receive as little as 3 cents per container (very heavy discounting). In those cases it is the responsibility of the Green Depot operator to return the bottles to the brewers. Retail grocers are much more numerous (and thus more convenient) than Green Depots in any event which prevents many bottles from being returned to the Green Depots.

In 2010-2011, MMSB collected 160 million beverage containers, for a recovery rate of 66%.


1. Waste Management Regulations, 2003, N.L.R. 59/03, s. 12


3. Waste Management Regulations, 2003, N.L.R. 59/03, s. 14.

4. Waste Management Regulations, 2003, N.L.R. 59/03, s. 18.

5. Environment Canada - Beverage Container Recycling Program

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

7.  "Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers: Global Overview 2018." CM Consulting Incorporated, 2018.

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Contact - Newfoundland


Department of Environment & Conservation
Phone: 709-729-2664
Toll Free: 1 - 800-563-6181


Multi-Materials Stewardship Board
Phone: 709-753-0948
Toll-Free: 1-800-901-MMSB
General Inquiries:
Beverage Recycling: (Paul Russell)