|Name of Law||beverage container recycling program|
|Date Implemented||December 1, 1997|
|Beverages covered||All beverages|
|Containers covered||All sealed containers|
|Amount of deposit|| Up to 1 litre: 10¢
Over 1 litre: 25¢
|Handling Fees||Fees range from 1.67 to 12 cents as specified in the administrative bylaws.|
|Reclamation System|| 212 permitted province-wide depots.
Beer containers are collected through licencees, liquor stores and beer stores.
|Unredeemed Deposits||Retained by distributor/bottler|
|Program success||2009 return rates:2
Aluminum (soft drink) – 86.5%
Aluminum (beer) – 90.5%
Bi-Metal – 74.1%
poly Coat – 56.4%
Glass (non-refillable beer) – 94.6%
Glass (refillable beer) – 97.1%
Glass – 90.5%
plastic – 74.4%
Overall - 82%
Alberta’s deposit-return system is operated by a consortium of 2127 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 Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC) and the Alberta Beer Container Corporation (ABCC).
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.
The success of the system is reflected by the continual annual increase in the number of containers returned for recycling or reuse. In 2007 the number of containers recovered by the system increased by 3.7% to more than 1.57 billion meaning that each and every Albertan returned more than 457 empty containers. Overall, almost eight out of every ten containers sold in Alberta were returned for either reuse or recycled into other valuable products with almost $119 million dollars in deposits returned to consumers. With 85% of Albertans reporting that they participate and support the system, beverage container recycling continues to be strong in the province.6
See Benchmarking Evaluation of Alberta’s Stewardship
Program for Recycling Empty Beverage Containers [pdf] for an analysis of the Alberta deposit system
1. Beverage Container Recycling Regulation, Alta. Reg. 101/1997, ss. 3(2).
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 2007 Annual Report
7. BCMB 2007 Annual Report, p. 17