Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  Agreement Relating to the Consignment, Recovery & Recycling of Non-Refillable (Soft Drink/Beer) Containers
Date Implemented 1984 (Last updated 2014)
Beverages Covered All nonrefillable beer and carbonated soft drinks
Containers Covered All containers for accepted beverages
Beverages Not Covered
  • Energy and sports drinks
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Wine and spirits
  • Milk and dairy alternatives
Amount of Deposit

Soft drink containers & beer cans ≤ 450ml: CAD$0.05

Non-refillable beer > 450ml: CAD$0.10

One-way glass containers ≤ 450ml: CAD$0.20

Reclamation System Return-to-retail
Handling Fee 2¢ "Return Incentives" paid to retailers from unredeemed deposits (1¢ for one-way glass containers)
Other Fees .15¢ fee, paid by distributors
to Boissons Gazeuses Environment (BGE) to cover administrative costs. [1]
Unredeemed Deposits $250,000 CAD retained by Recyc-Québec to cover operational costs. BGE and distributors/ bottlers split the rest 33%/66% respectively to cover program fees. [2]
Program Success

2019 Redemption Rates [3]:

Total Return Rate: 73.8%
Aluminum: 75.0%
Glass: 64.9%
Plastic: 70.0%

2016 Redemption Rates:

Total Return Rate: 70.6%
Aluminum: 70.6%
Glass: 71.4%
PET: 70.4%
Beer Glass: 76.0%

Complementary Recycling Programs

About 70% of households have access to curbside recycling.



A stable, entrenched, return-to-retail system for soft drink and beer containers is run by Recyc-Québec, a crown corporation. The province's system is characterized by a 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.

In January 2020, it was announced that the deposit system will be expanded to include all glass, plastic, and metal beverage containers between 100 ml and 2L. This will include previously excluded beverage types, like sparkling water, juices, and wine. This is expected to be rolled out in fall 2022. [4] [5] The plan will raise the deposit value to $0.25 for wine and spirits bottles, and $0.10 for all other containers. [6]

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."

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. They do so through municipal reimbursement, where they reimburse municipalities for net reasonable recycling costs. The schedule of fees for these costs is managed by Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ), a non-profit organization that represents packaging producers.

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

Recycle Québec oversees the beer container collection program.

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.


See also:Agreement relating to the consignment, recovery and recycling of non-refillable soft drink containers [pdf,238kb] (found at

[1] "Who Pays What: An Analysis of Beverage Container Recovery and Costs in Canada." Morawski, Clariss. CM Consulting. p.55.

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

[3] Ibid.

[4] "Quebec va de l'avant avec l'élargissement de la consigne,  trans. Quebec proceeds with expansion of the deposit system." Government of Quebec, 30 January 2020.

[5] "Quebec expanding drink container deposit system by 2022." Canada's National Observer, January 31st 2020.

[6] "Quebec to expand deposit system to cover all drink containers by 2022." National Post, Jaunary 30, 2020.

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Boissons Gazeuzes Environnement
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Éco Entreprises Québec
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Montréal, QC H3H 1P9
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