Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Name  Environmental Management and Protection Act (Part VI, Division 1: Beverage Container Program)
Date Implemented 8/1/1973(amended to include beverage container recycling in 1988, and last updated in 2017) [1]
Beverages Covered All ready-to-serve beverage containers 
Beverages Not Covered 
  • Foil pouches
  • Bag-in-a-box containers
  • Meal and diet replacement liquids
  • Baby juices
  • Juice concentrates
  • Any container >5L
Amount of Deposit

Metal/aluminum cans [2]:

  • < 1L: 10¢ CAD
  • ≥1L: 25¢ CAD 


  • ≤ 300ml: 10¢ CAD
  • Between 300mL and 1L: 20¢ CAD
  • ≥ 1l: 40¢ CAD


  • <1L: 10¢ CAD
  • ≥1L: 25¢ CAD

Juice boxes/gable top cartons:

  • <1L: 10¢ CAD
  • ≥1L: 25¢ CAD

Refillable beer bottles (one size): 5¢ CAD 

All containers are also subject to a non-refundable Environmental Handling Charge (EHC). See section below.

Environmental Handling Charge [3]
  • Metal/aluminum cans: 7¢ CAD
  • Plastic: 8¢ CAD
  • Glass: 9¢ CAD
  • Juice boxes/gable top cartons: 5¢ CAD
  • Refillable beer bottles: N/A
Reclamation System Not-for-profit SARCAN redemption depots
Handling Fee None
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by province and used to pay for the program through SARCAN annual operation contract fee. Surplus is placed in provincial general revenues and helps fund extended recycling programs
Program Success


  2014-2015 2017-2018 [4] 2019-2020* [5] 2020-2021 [6] 2021-2022 [7]
Aluminum 92.1% 92% 90.1%  87.6%  89.4%
Plastic 94.3% 78% 81.8%  78.8%  76.9%
Glass 82.3% 95% 100%  95.7%  92.7%
Aseptics/Cartons 49.0% 50% 54.5%  54.1%  53.0%
Overall 86.6% 84.5% N/A  N/A  N/A

 * Sarcan reported a 3-year average for their 2020 report, making this dataset reflect 2018-2020 overall.



The program is administered by the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centers (SARC), which provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities. Its recycling division, SARCAN, operates under contract with Saskatchewan Environment. Saskatchewan Environment (the Ministry) designates the containers which can be collected for recycling and establishes the refundable deposit and the Environmental Handling Charge (EHC) that consumers pay.

The consumer pays a refundable deposit and an EHC on every non-refillable beverage container to the retailer, which in turn is passed through the distributor to the government. When returning the container to a SARCAN depot, the consumer receives the deposit refund from SARCAN. The deposit paid out is subsequently reimbursed to SARCAN by the government. The EHCs are non-refundable to the consumer and help to finance SARCAN's province-wide transportation, processing and marketing system, as well as any other operational costs. Any excess revenues are placed directly into provincial government coffers. [8]

As of September 2022, consumers must remove bottle caps from their containers before return in order to receive their deposit back. This policy change is meant to make the processing and transport of flattened containers more environmentally friendly and efficient. [9]

Beer System

Beer cans are legislated containers and are returned as part of the SARCAN system.

Refillable beer bottles are regulated under the Saskatchewan Litter Act and the Liquor and Gaming Act. These bottles can be returned to Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) stores, hotels, and depots. All SARCAN depots and all SLGA stores keep a 6-cent portion of the 10-cent refund as a handling fee.

Dairy System

Prior to 2016, SARCAN and 21 other recycling providers collected and processed milk containers through a voluntary recycling system, in contract with the Dairy industry in Saskatchewan. The dairy industry used to fund collection and processing costs plus management and advertising through a levy on all large size milk containers.

From January 2016 to April 2017, dairy products were recycled through municipal household recycling programs that varied from one community to the next. [10]

On April 1, 2017, “ready-to-serve” dairy products were brought into the deposit system. They are defined as milk, buttermilk, cream, fluid coffee creamers, lactose-free milk products, and drinkable yogurt. According to SARCAN, the entity that manages the deposit program, the change was made to "standardize the treatment of milk with other beverages, reduce confusion for consumers, retailers and producers and enhance milk container recycling and waste diversion rates within the province." As such, the dairy system is now fully included in the container deposit system. [11]


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

[2] "Deposit Beverage Containers." SARCAN Recycling. Last accessed August 2022.

[3] Ibid.

[4] "Annual Report 2017-2018." SARC/SARCAN. June 2018.

[5] "SARC Annual Report 2019/20." SARC/SARCAN. 2020.

[6] "SARC Annual Report 2020/21." SARC/SARCAN. 2021.

[7] "SARC Annual Report 2021-2022." SARC/SARCAN. 2022


[9] See Footnote 2.

[10] Personal Email Correspondence with Sydney Smith. SARCAN Recycling. January 13, 2016.

[11] "2017 Amendments to The Environmental Management and Protection Act Regulations," Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. April 2017.


Last Updated on May 19, 2023.


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Toll Free: (800) 567-4224
E: [email protected]


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P: (306) 933-0616

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