Return-It Blog

Follow the money

The deposit system for cans, bottles and drink boxes seems simple, doesn't it?  Yet, like many things, it's more complex than it seems.

Consider the 5 or 20 cent deposit.  The grocery store didn't simply add that to your bill.  They paid that deposit to the manufacturer when the container was bought and they're only passing it along to you.  The store keeps none of the deposit, or the recycling fee.

The manufacturer doesn't keep it either.  They pay the deposit and recycling fee to Encorp once the container is shipped.  Meanwhile, Encorp holds these funds until you return the container to a Return-It Depot or grocery store, and get the deposit refunded. The recyling fee is used to partly fund the cost of the system.  It's complicated but it works smoothly.

Any unclaimed deposits and revenues from the sale of material are used by Encorp to pay operating costs such as collection, handling, transportation, processing, public awareness and administration. When the revenue from unclaimed deposits and from sales of collected material are insufficient to cover the cost of recovering and recycling a specific container type, a non-refundable recycling fee called The Container Recycling Fee (CRF) is added to the container to make up for the shortfall.

The CRF is the fee Encorp charges to cover the net cost of recycling a beverage container type and it 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.

Once the containers have been collected at the depot, they need to be sorted because each type of container is made of different material  and have varying market values, as need to be sent to different destinations to be properly recycled. Aluminum cans are turned back into rolls of aluminum sheets to be made into new cans.  Plastic is cleaned and made into flakes or beads and are sold to manufactures of new containers.  Drink boxes are pulped to extracted the paper fibre which is used for corrugated cardboard and other paper products.  Glass is crushed and used fibreglass and construction materials.

Check out our informational videos to see the process for each container type.

Questions about this blog post? Please contact us at or 1-855-350-2345 for more information.