General Return-It Recycling Questions

General questions about which containers to recycle, deposits and more.

How do I know which beverage containers to save?

Virtually all types of ready-to-drink beverage containers can be returned to your local Return-It Depot; however, some containers have deposits and/or fees, others do not, and some are handled by other contractors or only specific depots.

This website contains all the information you need to know about which container types can be returned, what brands are included, and what (if any) deposits and fees are involved. The best places to look are:

Where do I take them?

Take them to any Return-It Bottle Depot located in your area, or to the store where you bought them. Alternatively, you may want to hold onto your containers so that they are ready when your community fundraising groups come knocking.

Find the closest location to you at return-it.ca/locations

I do not feel my local bottle depot is run very well. Can/Should I report this to Encorp?

We're always interested in hearing about which bottle depots are not living up to the Return-It standards. Please send your comments to our Depot Operations Coordinator at returnit@returnit.ca

What happens to drink boxes and other paper-based cartons (such as Tetra PakTM) after they're returned to the bottle depot?

Why do I have to take the caps off but leave the labels on my containers?

The caps are made of different materials than the containers themselves. In order to maximize the value of the recovered materials (and minimize the cost of the system for consumers) "contaminants", which means materials other than the main one, must be kept out of the system wherever possible. Removing the caps at the start of the recycling process is the simplest and easiest way to do that. The labels are required so that the depot can identify the container as being part of the deposit system. Paying out for containers which are not part of the system increases costs for the system and, ultimately, for consumers.

Consumers are instructed to remove the caps from beverage containers. Aren't these recycled too?

Yes indeed, the caps are recycled. They're just made of a different material than the rest of the container and need to be recycled separately.

Why don't I get the full deposit back on some beer bottles and beer cans at some bottle depots?

Only alcohol containers registered within Encorp Pacific's Return-It system are guaranteed to receive a full refund of their deposit at all depot locations. Standard brown beer bottles and beer cans fall under the stewardship of the Brewers Distributors Ltd. A few depot locations have contracted services with the brewers; however, depots accept these containers as a service to their customers, and in order to pay for the costs of handling these containers, some depots discount the deposit refund. Encorp has no control over how much of the deposit is refunded to consumers for these products.

Why should I take my beverage containers to a bottle depot when I can put them in the blue bin for curbside pickup?

The most compelling reason to return your containers to a Return-It depot is to get your refund. You'll get back the deposits you paid when you purchased those beverages. You'd be surprised how quickly they add up!

But not only that, some municipalities no longer accept deposit-bearing containers in their curbside collection programs, in which case your local Return-It Depot may be your best choice. 

Would I receive faster service if I pre-bagged my containers before bringing them to the bottle depot? (i.e. payment by bag rather than container)

Possibly. This is especially true if you are returning large numbers of containers, for example, from a community bottle drive or other large event.

Many depots will provide you with our standard, clear plastic bags so that, when filled, their staff will recognize standard quantities to avoid having to recount them. Please visit our page on Container Bag Counts to see how many containers of each type and size make up a standard-quantity bag.

I bring my containers to the depot in plastic bags. Does Encorp recycle the plastic bags I leave there?

Some, but not all, depots have a contract with Recycle BC, the stewardship agency responsible for plastic bags (http://recyclebc.ca/) and can accept plastic grocery bags for recycling so it's best to ask your local depot if they can accept plastic bags.

Also not all types of plastic bags can be recycled so please check with Recycle BC (http://recyclebc.ca/) and confirm that the type of bag you are using is accepted in their program.

How does Encorp ensure that beverage container recycling has a net positive impact on the environment?

As an environmental stewardship agency, Encorp Pacific (Canada) is charged with the responsibility to regularly monitor the benefits and impacts of the entire beverage container recycling process in British Columbia.

Encorp enlists the services of third-party accounting and environmental firms to provide regular, un-biased reports on such issues as waste reduction, energy conservation and carbon footprint. The results of these reports are then summarized yearly in our full annual reports.

What happens to the containers?

Each container type is recycled. See the FAQ Videos on YoutTube  for more information.