Recycling Fee Information
Information about Container Recycling Fees (CRF), how fees are determined, differences between a CRF and a deposit as well as additional important information.
- What is a CRF?
CRF stands for Container Recycling Fee. This is the fee Encorp charges to cover the net cost of recycling a beverage container type after any unredeemed deposits and commodity revenues for that container type have been used. CRFs have been in place for beverage containers in British Columbia for more than 17 years. The CRF varies for each beverage container category. As a not-for-profit product stewardship agency, Encorp Pacific only charges the net cost for recovering and recycling beverage containers. The CRF reflects current economic conditions such as commodity prices and beverage volumes.
- What is a deposit?
Deposits are charged when a beverage container is purchased. They are returned in full when you bring back the empty container for recycling. These deposits are set through government legislation. Click here for the B.C. Government's page on Beverage Container Regulation.
For a full listing of all containers that can be returned to a Return-It Depot visit https://www.return-it.ca/beverage/products/
- What are the changes to CRFs being introduced in February?
Encorp Pacific has implemented changes to Container Recycling Fees which will affect the amount of non-refundable fees applied to certain beverage containers sold in the province each February.
We have made these changes as part of our annual financial review of the recycling system, in order to account for changes in the costs of handling various container types.
For a detailed list of all current CRF's please go to the Container Type and Fee's page
- Why are the changes being made?
Within the recycling system, the costs associated with handling each type of container may fluctuate from year to year. In addition, changes in commodity prices affect the amount of revenue Encorp can generate through the sale of materials like aluminum and plastic recovered from containers. Each year, we calculate the net cost of recycling each container type to determine whether CRFs need to be increased or decreased, and we make changes accordingly.
These changes are necessary and a part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that the recycling system is operating efficiently and in a manner that enables us to increase the number of containers that are prevented from going to landfill and incineration.
- Why are fees different for the various container types?
Container Recycling Fees are set for each container type according to an annual calculation of the net costs of recycling. For example, it will cost less to transport aluminum cans compared to glass bottles, and Encorp may be able to generate more revenue from the sale of aluminum compared to glass, based on pricing set in the marketplace. Therefore, the net cost of recycling a glass bottle will be higher, so the CRF for that container will be higher compared to an aluminum can.
It is important to point out that these calculations may change from year to year, depending on volumes, costs and revenues associated with different container types. That is why CRFs may go up or down depending on the net cost calculated each year.
- How does Encorp Pacific decide how to set the fees?
Container Recycling Fees are set for each container type according to an annual calculation of the net costs of recycling. The third-party contract system employed by Encorp permits an accurate assessment of the specific costs of handling each size of container and commodity type at every step of the process. Commodity revenues are also segregated by container type. By deducting applicable revenues generated from the unredeemed deposit and commodity sales, from the costs of handling a particular container type, Encorp establishes the net cost of handling that container.
- What if costs go down? Does that mean fees will decrease?
Yes. If the costs associated with recycling a particular container type decrease, then we will decrease or eliminate the CRF.
As a not-for-profit agency, Encorp Pacific establishes CRFs for the purposes of offsetting the cost of recycling containers. The commodity value and unredeemed deposit, in some cases, only cover part of the cost of recycling containers. The CRF covers the rest of the cost.
- What’s the difference between a CRF and a deposit?
CRFs are non-refundable. Consumers are refunded the deposit they pay for a beverage container when they return the container to a Return-It Depot or to a retailer.
- How are CRFs used? Where does that money go?
The money collected from the Container Recycling Fee, plus the money from the sale of commodities, and any money left over from unclaimed (unredeemed) deposits, is used to pay for the collection, handling, transportation and processing of the containers. All of these tasks are performed by independent private operators who work under contract to Encorp. There are dozens of companies and hundreds of people employed in B.C. as a result of this program.
- Why do these costs need to be passed on to consumers? I thought the beverage industry was responsible for paying for recycling its products.
Encorp Pacific is 100% industry operated and is a not-for-profit agency that receives no government funding. We operate the container recycling system in a manner that aims to minimize the costs to consumers for recycling. As economic conditions change, so do the costs associated with running the system. While every effort is made to cover the cost of recycling containers through unredeemed deposits and commodity values, in some cases a Container Recycling Fee is necessary.
- Why is the recycling fee being shown?
By showing the fee separately, consumers can see the direct costs of recycling.
- Why do I pay the recycling fee in some stores but not others?
Some retailers may choose not to show the recycling fee separately.
- Shouldn’t Encorp use unredeemed deposits to cover any shortfall in revenues to deal with fluctuating costs?
Unredeemed deposits are used to fund the recycling system. For some container types, unredeemed deposits and commodity values will only cover a portion of the cost of recycling. The Container Recycling Fee covers the rest of the cost.
- Aren’t these fees just another form of taxation?
No, Encorp Pacific is a not-for-profit agency operated by the beverage industry in British Columbia. None of the Container Recycling Fees or the deposits goes to any level of government. The Container Recycling Fee helps to pay a part of the cost of recycling containers as recycling is required by regulation.
- Is tax applied to the Container Recycling Fee (CRF)?
Effective April 1, 2013 the CRF is subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5%.
- Given the financial pressures on BC families, and the impact of the GST, isn’t this a bad time to be increasing fees?
The industry-led beverage container recycling system in British Columbia is mandated by the provincial government. Each year, in order to ensure the system can operate effectively, Encorp calculates the net cost of recycling each container type to determine whether CRFs need to be increased or decreased, and we make changes accordingly. While we appreciate that an increase in fees may not be popular, the changes we are implementing are necessary in order to ensure the recycling system is working effectively and keeping containers out of landfill and incineration.
- How do you think the public will react to these changes?
BC consumers have made a significant commitment to recycling over the past 20+ years, to the point that we have the highest recycling rate in North America for beverage containers. Although new CRF fees have been added, we are continuing to educate consumers about how these fees are calculated and are confident that British Columbians will continue to support the system that is in place.
- What have you heard from retailers? Aren’t they concerned about adding costs for their customers?
Container Recycling Fees have been in place in BC for more than 16 years. We work closely with the retail industry – they are aware of these latest changes in CRFs. Retailers have the option of including the CRF in the price of beverages, or charging the fee as a separate item that the consumer can see on their receipt.
- Do you think it’s right that a healthier drink, like fruit juice, has a higher fee than a soda? Shouldn’t we be doing whatever we can to make those healthy choices more cost effective for parents?
CRFs are established solely on the basis of recycling costs, not on the contents or characteristics of the beverages.
- What is Encorp Pacific doing to inform the public?
CRFs are not new in British Columbia. Each year, Encorp Pacific spends millions of dollars on education campaigns to ensure the public understands how the recycling system works – including how fees and deposits are established and applied – and to encourage greater participation in recycling in order to keep more containers out of landfill and from incineration. Consumers can obtain detailed information about recycling on our website, return-it.ca/beverage/products/
- What happens to the containers?
Each container type is recycled. See the FAQ Videos on YouTube for more information.