Return-It Blog

The principles for product stewardship


  1. Producer-user responsibility – Costs are covered by consumers and producers of products and not downloaded to local governments or taxpayers. Often a deposit or levy is charged at the time of purchase.
  2. Level playing field – All producers are treated equitably with no cross subsidization of container or product types.
  3. Results based – Producers are required to set and achieve positive environmental results. The goal is continuous improvement.
  4. Transparency and accountability – Financial statements are independently audited and publicly available.
  5. Easy access – All consumers have reasonable access to collection sites

Encorp Pacific (Canada) is BC’s largest Product Stewardship Corporation. It is mandated to develop and manage a consumer- friendly and cost-effective system to recover end-of-life consumer products and packaging for recycling. You probably know them best through the Return-It™ Depot system, which includes 174 independently owned and operated Return-It™ Depots across BC.

Product stewardship is all about responsibility. The guiding principle of this environmental management strategy is that whoever designs, produces, sells or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing that product’s environmental impact. The aim is to divert recyclable materials from going to waste in landfills. The rewards are significant: We can reduce the need to develop new landfill sites and the diverted materials can be reused thus saving the energy needed to produce new products from raw materials. Many of the products we use every day can be harmful when they reach the end of their useful life. They may be corrosive, toxic or flammable. BC’s product stewards have committed to recycling their products safely and responsibly. By returning your products to the appropriate collection sites, you can guarantee a safe and responsible recycling process.

Working together like a well-oiled recycling machine.

BC’s Product Stewardship model works because Producers, Local and Provincial Governments, Retailers, Collection Sites and Consumers work together to ensure that products that have reached the end of their useful life are managed in an environmentally friendly manner.

100% industry operated.

Encorp is 100% industry operated and receives no government funding. There is no cross subsidization of container types. Expenses incurred operating the Return-It™ system include deposit refunds, handling fees to depots, transportation and processing of collected containers, consumer awareness and administration. Revenues are made up of the sale of collected materials to recyclers, unredeemed container deposits and, if required, a container recycling fee (CRF).

Encorp combines private-sector efficiencies with a high degree of public-sector transparency to manage collection and recycling programs. Information about its mission, key objectives, operational and financial performance is made available to the public. The Board of Directors consists of beverage and retail industry representatives, as well as directors with no affiliation to either industry.