Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations made under Section 102 of the Environment Act (Div. 1, Part 2: Beverage Container Programs) [1]
Date Enacted 1994
Date Implemented Implemented 6 February 1996; Last updated June 2019
Beverages Covered All ready-to-serve beverages <5L [2]
Beverages Not Covered
  • Milk and milk-based products
  • Soy and rice milk
  • Meal replacement beverages
  • Formulated liquid diets
  • Baby formula
  • Beverage concentrates
Containers Covered
  • Plastics
  • Metal
  • Bimetal
  • Glass
  • Gable top
  • Tetra Pak
Amount of Deposit

Non-alcohol containers < 5l: CAD$0.10 / CAD$0.05*

Alcoholic beverages only:

Wine & spirit ≤ 500ml: CAD$0.10 / CAD$0.05*

Wine & spirit >500ml: CAD$0.20 / CAD$0.10*

Beer: CAD$1.20 per dozen bottles

*Consumers receive only half of their deposit back when they return non-refillable containers (see "Other Fees" section). Refillable containers receive the full return back.

Reclamation System Return to depot (more than 78 depot locations) [3]
Handling Fee 4.27¢ CAD [4]
Other Fees Half-back system: only half of the deposit is returned when non-refillable containers are redeemed. The kept value is used to fund the system.
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by Divert NS and used to offset costs. Surplus is used for municipal curbside and depot programs.
Program Success

Overall Return Rates:

  FY2017 [5]
FY2019 [6]
FY2020 [7]
FY2021 [8]
FY2022 [9]
Aluminum 88.7% 89.3% 88% 88.9% 88.2%
Glass 86.3% 86.9% 84% 79.9% 81.0%
PET/HDPE 78.0% 78.8% 77% 79.0% 80.5%
Steel/Bi-Metal 44.4% 40.7% 43% 51.4% 54.9%
Other Plastics 21.4% 49.4% 40% 38.9% 28.7%
Total 80.8% 82.9% 80.9% 82.4% 82.3%
Complementary Recycling Programs

100% of  the population has access to multi-material curbside recycling. More than 90% have access to curbside organic collection. 100% have access to depots.



The Deposit-Refund Program for Beverage Containers came into effect in 1996. Divert NS operates The Beverage Container Deposit Refund Program; the organization is regulated within the NS Solid Waste Resource Management Regulations. [10]

The 78 privately owned Enviro Depots are required by law to refund without discounting and to take back all program beverage containers. Divert NS keeps the unredeemed deposits. Depots are licensed by the Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB), with most operators being small, independent businesses.

Under Nova Scotia's half-back system, deposits are paid on all program containers and half is refunded. 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.

Beer System 

Beer and liquor are sold exclusively in the liquor stores. Refillable beer bottles are not part of the beverage container program administered by Divert NS, but are instead refunded by the Nova Scotia Brewers Association. [11] Unlike the beverage container program, the refillable bottle system does not operate on a half-back system; consumers receive the entirety of their deposit back when returning domestic bottles. Consumers receive 10¢ CAD for each domestic beer bottle they return, with a minimum of one dozen bottles.

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.


Milk containers are collected under a collective voluntary agreement between the Nova Scotia Environment, the Nova Scotia Solid Waste Management Regions, and the Atlantic Dairy Council.


[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.

[2] "Global Deposit Book 2020: An Overview of Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers." Reloop Inc. December 15 2020.

[3] "Find a Depot." Divert NS. Last Accessed June 2022.

[4] See Footnote 2.

[5] "Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers: Global Overview (2018)." Reloop Inc. April 2018.

[6] See Footnote 2.

[7] Private correspondence with Ashley Kirk, Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, and Alanna McPhee, Divert NS. July 2022.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] "The Nova Scotia Solid Waste-Resource Management: Strategy at a Glance." Province of Nova Scotia. Last Updated May 1 2019.

[11] "Beverage Containers." Divert NS. Last Accessed June 2022.


Last Updated on July 21 2022.


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Contact - Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change:
Solid Waste-Resource Management Division

Phone: 902-424-4300
Fax: 902-424-0569
[email protected]


Divert NS
Divert NS
35 Commercial Street, Suite 400
Truro, Nova Scotia B2N 3H9
Toll-free: 1-877-313-7732
Email: [email protected]