Bottle Bill Resource Guide

 

Name  Environment Quality Act / Agreement Relating to the Consignment, Recovery & Recycling of Non-Refillable (Soft Drink/Beer) Containers
Date Implemented 1984 (Last updated 2022)
Beverages Covered
  • Beer
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Carbonated energy drinks

The following beverages will be eligible after spring 2023: [1]

  • Water
  • Fruit and vegetable juice
  • Wine and spirits
Containers Covered All containers for accepted beverages
Beverages Not Covered
  • Non-carbonated energy and sports drinks
  • Milk and dairy alternatives

These beverages will be covered after autumn 2023:

  • Water
  • Juice
  • Wine and spirits
Amount of Deposit

Soft drink containers & beer cans ≤ 450ml: 5¢CAD

Non-refillable beer > 450ml: 20¢ CAD

One-way glass containers ≤ 450ml: 10¢ CAD

Reclamation System Return-to-retail
Handling Fee 2¢ CAD "return incentives" paid to retailers from unredeemed deposits (1¢ CAD for one-way glass containers)
Other Fees N/A.
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

Redemption Rates (5¢CAD only): [3]


Material Type 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Aluminum 71.9% 72.0% 74.4% 71.8% 73.4% 74.1%
Glass 86.1% 88.1% 83.3% 83.1% 82.8% 80.2%
Plastic 65.6% 66.4% 70.0% 74.4% 72.6% 74.7%
Total 71.4% 71.5% 74.0% 72.3% 73.4% 74.3%

 

2019 Overall Redemption Rates: [4]

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

2016 Overall Redemption Rates:

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

Complementary Recycling Programs

About 78% of households have access to curbside recycling. [5]

 

Details

Quebec's deposit system was first implemented in 1984 to support the province's existing curbside recycling program. The province's system is characterized by a deposit refund system and an initiative to require industry to fund curbside collection for all remaining containers not part of the deposit-return system. Two organizations run Quebec's deposit system: Boissons Gazeuses Environnement (BGE) handle all non-alcoholic beverages, and the Québec Brewers Association handles beer. Both organizations report to and are overseen by the Société Québécoise de récupération et de recyclage, more commonly known as Recyc-Québec. [6]

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 expansion is expected to be rolled out in fall 2022. [7] [8] The plan will raise the deposit value to $0.25 for wine and spirits bottles, and $0.10 for all other containers. [9]

Soft Drinks

The soft drink industry founded Boissons Gazeuses Environnement, a nonprofit organization, to manage the administrative details of the return system in 1999.

The system is mainly handles reclamation through return-to-retail. Soft drink distributors sell their products and pick up  empty containers 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.

Initially, Quebec's program did not include non-alcoholic beverages like water, juice, and teas. In 1998, soft drink producers and grocery retailers lobbied for a curbside solution instead of a return-to-retail system proposed by the provincial government. In September 1998, the government released its "Québec Residual Materials Management Policy" to determine industry funding for the following decade. [10] The report 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 through municipal reimbursement.

The schedule of fees for these costs is managed by Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ), a non-profit organization that represents packaging producers. [11]

After the report's implementation, 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

Non-refillable beer beverage containers are regulated by the same legislation as the non-refillables soft drink system, with both required to operate as return-to-retail. Bewers deliver all beer to retailers directly in urban areas; rural areas are served by  warehoused owned by Brewers Distribution Limited. Retailers pay the deposit on beer bottles on delivery to the store, and recoup it on sale. Retailers are reimbursed for refunds once the empty containers are picked up by the Brewers. No handling fees are paid.

Prior to 2019, Quebec had a quota system on refillable containers in place to ensure the prevalence of refillable containers in the beer market. The quota system require each beer producer to produce no more than 37.5% of their production (as measured by the number of containers produced) in non-refillable containers. 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. This law was repealed in 2019, with beer producers able to produce any proportion of non-refillable and refillable containers. [12]

Footnotes

[1] "Quebec prepares to broaden deposit fees on drink containers." Marin, Stéphanie. Montreal Gazette. 17 August 2021.

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

[3] "Recovery Statistics." BOISSONS GAZEUSES ENVIRONNEMENT (BGE). Last updated 2022.

[4] See Footnote 2.

[5] "Access distribution in Canada, by province, 2007." Statistics Canada. Last updated 19 December 2012.

[6] See Footnote 2.

[7] "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.

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

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

[10] "Québec Residual Materials Management Policy, 1998-2008." Environnment Québec. 1998.

[11] Order of the Minister, Vol. 153, No. 26. (2021 SoC)

[12] "WHO PAYS WHAT? AN ANALYSIS OF BEVERAGE CONTAINER COLLECTION AND COSTS IN CANADA." CM Consulting. November 2020.

 

Last Updated on June 30 2022.

 

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Contact - Québec

Government

Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs
Tel: (418) 521-3830 or
1 800 561-1616
[email protected]
www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca

Organizations

RECYC-QUÉBEC
514-352-5002 or Toll free 1-800-807-0678
[email protected]
www.recyc-quebec.gouv.qc.ca (French)

Boissons Gazeuzes Environnement
Phone: (514)-747-7737 or (877)-226-3883
[email protected]
www.bge-quebec.com

Éco Entreprises Québec
1600, René-Lévesque Blvd. West
Suite 600
Montréal, QC H3H 1P9
Phone: (514) 987-1700
Toll free: 1-877-987-1491
https://www.eeq.ca/en/

Front commun québécois pour une gestion écologique des déchets (FCQGED)
1431 rue Fullum #107
Montréal (Québec)
H2K 0B5
(514) 396-2686 p. 701
[email protected]

Media Contact:

André Fortin, Senior Advisor, External Relations
Éco Entreprises Québec
[email protected]
Cell.: 418 680-2134