Pilot Program for Aluminum Cans

On July 6, 2020, we announced a six-month pilot program at select Return-It depots that will enable consumers to return both alcohol and non-alcohol aluminum beverage containers together for recycling — without having to sort — as one stream with one deposit amount. A list of the current participating depot locations is below. Please check back often as this list will be continually updated over the coming days and weeks.

This pilot is part of a broad suite of innovations to modernize British Columbia’s beverage container recycling system to make it easier and more convenient to recycle — ensuring future generations can enjoy a greener, healthier province. These initiatives reflect feedback from consumers and put a clear focus on enhancing the Return-It recycling system to divert more material from our landfills, oceans and waterways. Further questions? Check the FAQ section below.

To read more about the series of initiatives announced, click here.

Participating Locations

Find a location nearby here.

Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
Thompson-Okanagan
Northern British Columbia
Kootenays
Vancouver Island

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you announcing these initiatives now?

It’s a perfect opportunity for us to build on our success and invest in new ways of modernizing the system, improve beverage container recovery rates, and a greener BC. Consumers have told us they want a more convenient system to recycle their beverage containers. By making it easier and more convenient for consumers to recycle their empty beverage containers will help improve recovery rates and keep empty beverage containers out of our landfills, oceans and waterways.

It is also timely as our new Stewardship Plan is up for consultation. In our new plan, we have added aluminum alcohol containers to our system and as part of our consultation process, we are inviting British Columbians to share their feedback at www.returnit.ca/beverageplan2020. Our priority is to collaborate and continue to evolve the system to meet consumers’ needs, especially in today’s environment.

Don’t consumers already return both alcohol and non-alcohol aluminum beverage containers as one stream with one deposit - doesn’t this already happen?

No, aluminum alcohol cans are the responsibility of and covered under the Brewers Recycled Container Collection Council (BRCCC) and Brewers Distributor Limited (BDL) recycling system. Only some Return-It depots have a BRCCC/BDL license to manage alcohol containers. Currently, when consumers visit a Return-It depot and recycle their aluminum beverage containers for a cash refund they need to separate their alcohol and non-alcohol aluminum cans given this material is managed by two different stewardship agencies.

As it relates to the deposit for aluminum alcohol cans, only those Return-It depots that have a BRCCC/BDL license and commercial agreement to manage and be financially compensated for this material provide the consumer with a full 10 cent deposit refund.

Over 50% of Return-It depots do not have a license or commercial agreement from BRCCC/BDL to manage and be financially compensated for aluminum alcohol cans. However, since consumers still bring and expect to return their aluminum alcohol and non-alcohol cans at the same Return-It depot for recycling, these small business owners will still accept the aluminum alcohol cans but do not have the same financial resources to provide the consumer with a full deposit refund. As a result, consumers may receive a partial deposit refund to cover the depot’s costs for the handling of these containers.

Why is Return-It launching this pilot?

The discounting of a customer’s deposit refund for aluminum alcohol containers at Return-It depots without a BRCCC/BDL license has led to customer dissatisfaction and confusion with the Return-It Recycling System, which has an impact on our system and if left unchecked could have a material impact on diverting material from our landfills, oceans and waterways.

Our customers have also told us that they want to be able to recycle and receive a full deposit refund at any Return-It location and do not have the time to visit two collection sites to recycle their aluminum cans. This pilot will simplify the system and help support British Columbians in conveniently recycling their beverage containers as one stream with one deposit. By making it easier and more convenient for consumers to recycle their empty beverage containers, it will increase BC’s recycling rates and divert more and more beverage containers from our landfills, oceans and waterways.

Have other questions?

Please contact our Customer Relations Team at 1-855-350-2345 or customerService@returnit.ca