Québec

Date implemented 1984
Beverages covered All nonrefillable beer and carbonated soft drinks
Containers covered All containers for accepted beverages
Amount of deposit Soft drinks containers : 5¢
Beer aluminium cans <450ml : 5¢
Beer aluminium cans >450ml : 20¢
Beer bottles <450ml : 10¢
Beer bottles >450ml : 20¢
Handling Fees 2 cent "Return Incentives" paid to retailers from unredeemed deposits
Other fees .15¢ fee, paid by distributors
to Boissons Gazeuses Environment (BGE) to cover administrative costs.[a]
Reclamation System Return-to-retail
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by Recyc-Québec and distributors/ bottlers
Complementary Recycling Programs About 70% of households have access to curbside recycling
Program Success

2007 Redemption Rates

Non-refillables Soft drinks containers
Aluminium cans 67 %
Plastic bottles 68 %
Glass bottles 36 %
Overall
67 %

Non refillables Beer containers
Aluminium cans <450ml 67 %
Aluminium cans >450ml 80 %
Glass bottles <450ml 82 %
Glass bottles >450ml 74 %
Overall 74 %

Details

A stable, entrenched, return-to-retail system for soft drink and beer containers run by Recyc-Québec, a crown corporation. The province's system is characterized by a strong deposit refund system and a new initiative to require industry to fund curbside collection for all remaining containers not part of the deposit-return system. 

Soft Drinks

The soft drink industry founded Boissons Gazeuses Environnement, a nonprofit organization, to manage the administrative details of the return system.

The system is dominated by return-to-retail. Soft drink distributors sell their products and pick up the empties from retail stores in their territory. Once the containers are returned, the bottlers pay the retailer the refund plus a handling fee ("Return Incentive"). Bottlers keep the scrap revenues from the containers they collect. 

Unlike most areas in Canada, Québec retailers (both large supermarkets and corner grocery/convenience stores a.k.a. depanneurs) are satisfied with handling refunds on beer and soft drink containers. They see it as a convenience service to their customers and a way of generating return traffic to their locations. 

Soft drink producers have been dissatisfied that their beverages bear a deposit while juice, water, iced tea and new age beverages bear no deposits. The government was considering imposing a return-to-retail system for these beverage types but both soft drink producers and grocery retailers lobbied for a curbside solution instead. In early 1998 the government agreed to consider that solution depending on the fees industry was willing to pay to support curbside. On September 15, 1998, the government announced its decision for industry funding of curbside recycling in its document entitled: "LE PLAN D'ACTION QUEBECOIS SUR LA GESTION DES MATIERES RESIDUELLES 1998 - 2008."

Other non-refillable containers are under a curbside Program which is accessible for about 97% of households.

Part of the new regime addresses recyclable consumer packaging and requires industries which produce packaging collected by curbside recycling systems to contribute the large majority of funding for the net costs of municipal recycling. While full details have not yet been released (and initial information is still available only in French) the funding projections show industry paying $22 million of the $30 million cost of curbside recycling. The $8 million municipal share of costs recognizes that municipalities would have to pay to landfill materials if there was no curbside recycling.

Where beverages are concerned this means that the 20% of beverage containers not previously covered by full producer responsibility (i.e. beer and soft drinks) are now covered by a system where producers pay 75% of the costs of curbside recycling. This is similar to the Manitoba-style 80% industry contribution towards curbside recycling costs.

Beer System

Refillable beer bottles are under a private consignment system. Redemption rate is over 95%.

Non-refillable beer beverage containers are regulated by the same legislation as the non-refillables soft drink system; both being required to operate as return-to-retail. The Brewers deliver all beer to retailers directly in urban areas, with rural areas being served by a "Brewers Distribution Limited" warehouse. Beer is sold to the public by grocery retailers including supermarkets and corner convenience stores. Retailers pay the deposit on delivery and recoup it on sale. Retailers are reimbursed for refunds once the empty containers, both bottles and cans, are picked up by the Brewers. No handling fees are paid.

There is a quota system in place to ensure the prevalence of refillable containers in the beer market. That quota system was improved recently to require each beer maker to produce no more than 37.5% of their production (as measured by the number of containers produced) in non-refillable containers. Previously, the quota was on can production - i.e. no more than 37.5% of production was allowed in cans (production was then measured by fluid volume). This change was instituted to ensure that no Brewer could frustrate the intent of the quota law by selling beer in non-refillable glass and counting those sales along with their refillable glass percentage. 

Footnotes

See also:Agreement relating to the consignment, recovery and recycling of non-refillable soft drink containers [pdf,238kb] (found at http://www.bge-quebec.com/en/)

[a] Source: Clarissa Morawski. "Program Financing" Who Pays What: An Analysis of Beverage Container Recovery and Costs in Canada. p.55.

 

Updated December 18, 2011

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