Bottle Drive Tips

Follow these easy steps to organize a profitable can and bottle drive!

There are two Bottle Drive options to consider:

Option 1: Going to a Return-It Express Depot location:

Make your bottle drive easier and more successful by using Return-It Express at your nearest Return-It Express depot:

Create a Return-It Express account at

  • Go to the Return-It Express depot of your choice. For locations see: and tell the depot you are organizing a bottle drive with Return-It Express. Ask the depot to print off Express labels - the depot has the option to print labels in bulk, say 50 or a 100 instead of the 6 labels you can print at the kiosk at a time.
  • You will also need bags, the bags simply need to be “Blue Recycling Bags” or transparent bags. These bags can be purchased at almost any grocery, drug store or hardware outlet. Glad, Western Family, Life, Safeway, No Name, HDX all will work with the Express system
  • Pre-label each bag and hand them out either door-to-door, at your classroom, assembly, and meeting or other event. Make sure to attach a simple flyer with:
    • Name of your organization
    • Reason for drive
    • Return-It Express drop-off location(s)
    • List of what you are collecting
    • Telephone number people can call for information
    • Each person receiving your pre-labeled Return-It Express bag can now fill up the bag with containers and drop the bag off at a Return-It Express location (it doesn’t matter which one, all deposits will go into the same account you have created). You can add a deadline to your bottle drive or leave the account open for future bottle drives.
    • You can manage your Return-It Express account online and request a cheque when you’re ready.

Sign up for your bottle drive Express account today: .

For any assistance and instructions on conducting a bottle drive with the Express system, contact your local Return-It Express Depot.

Option 2: Using a traditional Return-It Depot location

Step 1 - Put your team together

  • Form a team (it might be a committee already in place for fundraising or other community activities)
  • Choose a team leader for the drive
  • Assign responsibilities for the following steps
  • Check with your local municipality regarding guidelines and registration requirements.

Step 2 - Contact a Return-It Depot

To find an authorized Return-It Depot near you, visit the locations page, enter your postal code and select the depot location closest to you.  Contact your local depot by phone and let them know you'd like to organize a bottle drive.  They'll provide you the support you need to get started.

Here is information you'll find on our site:

Your local depot may provide even more resources to help you with your drive.  Some depots may even offer free pick-up service.

Step 3 - Establish the best collection method that suits your style

  • Central Site Collection | Find a good central location like a field, church or parking lot and let the beverage containers come to you.
  • Depot Drop-Off | Collect your containers by setting up at a Return-It Depot.  Returning them for a refund doesn't get any easier than this.
  • Neighbourhood Pick-Up | It's kind of like door-to-door but with a twist. Drop off flyers in your community that ask people to leave their containers in front of their houses. Then, when your event day comes around, simply swing by and pick them up.
  • Bulk Account | Head down to your local Return-It Depot and ask to have an account set up for your group.  Anytime a member of your group or community returns containers, the money can go straight to your group's fundraising account.

Step 4 - Spread the word & get social

  • Once you have decided on the date, the area and the collection method, you can coordinate the publicity. This is essential to a successful drive.
  • Have a reason for the drive such as  buying sports equipment, financing a trip, helping in a building program or supporting a charity. Some goal the community can get behind.
  • Print simple flyers with:Name of your organization
    • Reason for drive
    • Date of drive
    • Time for collection
    • Collection method (door-to-door or central location)
    • List of what you are collecting
    • Telephone number people can call for information
  • Deliver a flyer to every home in your collection area
  • Make sure every member of your group has flyers to take home
  • Write a short announcement of the event, including the information on the flyer, and send it to the community events page of your local newspaper and to the public service announcement departments at local radio and television stations

The most effective method of distributing information is delivery of door-to-door notices. If you have the volunteers to do this, you should deliver the notices twice—one month before the drive and the week of the drive.

  • Get social - create a Facebook event for your drive and invite as many people as possible. Use Twitter and email too! We've created a social media contact list to get you started - click the Twitter or Facebook icon to share news of your bottle drive with radio and television stations in your community. Download the list here.

Step 5 - Assign collection teams and equipment

  • If you have chosen a door-to-door or neighbourhood pick-up collection, divide the area into sections and assign collectors, drivers and vehicles to these areas
  • If you have chosen a central site or depot drop-off, have a team onsite to greet people bringing in donations, and facilities for handling empty containers until you're ready to deliver them to a Return-It Depot
  • Make sure packers follow the guide according to size and type. Soft drink and juice containers must be kept separate from containers for beer and other alcohol beverages.
  • Glass bottles should be packaged in cardboard boxes, in any quantity and sizes, making sure the number can be easily checked.
  • Have enough volunteers on hand to sort containers.  This well help make your drive day efficient.
  • For any assistance and instructions, contact your local Return-It Depot.

To locate a Return-It Depot near you, visit our Locations section.

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