Nova Scotia

Name of program The Beverage Container Deposit Refund Program
Beverages covered All beverages except milk
Containers covered All containers of qualifying beverages (above)
Amount of deposit Non-liquor: 10 ¢;
Refillable <1L: 10 ¢
Refillable >1L: 20 ¢
Non-refillable <500mL: 10 ¢
Non-refillable >500mL: 20 ¢1
Handling Fees 3.79¢ /unit (Negotiated by Eastern Recyclers Association, scheduled to increase Apr. 2009)4
Other Fees Half-back system: half of the deposit is returned when containers are+ redeemed
Reclamation System Return to depots2
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by government organization (RRFB) and used to offset costs. Surplus is used for municipal curbside and depot programs.
Program Success Container recovery rates (2008)[5]
Aluminum Cans :84%
Non‐Refillable Glass :84%
PET Bottles :82%
Other Plastics :27%
Bi‐Metal :102%
Gable/Tetra Pak :63%
TOTAL Non‐Refillables :78%
Refillable Beer :101%
Complementary Recycling Programs 92% of population have access to multi-material curbside recycling. 50% have access to curbside organic collection. 100% have access to depots.


The Deposit-Refund Program for Beverage Containers came into effect on April 1, 1996, and applies to all ready-to-serve beverages - except milk, milk products, soya milk, rice beverages, certain meal replacements, formulated liquid diets, foods for low energy diets, thickened juices, baby formulas, concentrates, non-alcoholic beverages 5-litres or greater, and all "return for refund" beverages purchased outside Nova Scotia. The Resource Recovery Fund Board NS (RRFB) operates The Beverage Container Deposit Refund Program and is regulated within the NS Solid Waste Resource Management Regulations. [6]

This stable, entrenched, half-back deposit system for "all" beverage containers is run by the Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB) a non-profit organization made up of representatives of government and industry. The 83-plus privately owned Enviro Depots are required by law to refund without discounting and to take back all beverage containers. Depots are also required by the RRFB to accept newsprint, old corrugated cardboard, and used tires from non-commercial sources. Further, the RRFB is mandated to develop industries within the province that utilize the recycled materials coming out of the non-refillable system. The RRFB keeps the unredeemed deposits and scrap revenues. Depots are licensed by the RRFB, with most operators being small, independent business people.

Under Nova Scotia's half-back system, deposits are paid on all containers and while deposits are refunded in full for refillable containers, only half is refunded for non-refillable containers. The province has been divided into seven regions, run by regional coordinators, to facilitate recycling efforts. Landfill disposal bans exist on all materials that go through the "universal depot" system as well as steel/tin/glass food containers, waste paint, selected plastics, anti-freeze, used tires and compostable organic material

The SolidWaste-Resource Management Regulations, promulgated under the Environment Act, govern the deposit and refund regime. See especially Part II – Industry Stewardship.

Beer System

Beer and liquor are sold exclusively in the liquor stores. The Brewers send beer to the Liquor Commission which initiates the deposit. The Brewers do not receive a deposit on sale to the Liquor Commission. Beer is exempt from the depot system, however, the containers are returned either to the liquor stores or through the Enviro Depots. Like New Brunswick, there are a number of bottle dealers in place who run Enviro Depots and pick up beer bottles from other depot operators. Just over half of the Enviro Depots are licensed Brewers' bottle dealers. These licensees receive a handling fee but must have a trailer load of empties before the Brewers will accept them for pick-up. Beer cans flow to Encorp and the Brewers never see them again.


1. Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations, N.S. Reg. 25/96, s. 15 as am. by: O.I.C. 2000-287, N.S. Reg. 100/2000.


3. N.S. Reg. 25/96

4. Maureen Woodlock, personal communication, December 11, 2008.

5. Source: Clarissa Morawski. "Table 1.3b: Beverage Container Collection Rates" Who Pays What: An Analysis of Beverage Container Recovery and Costs in Canada.

6. Nova Scotia Environment: Bottle Deposit Refund Program

Updated May 19, 2014

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