(Black Press Media files)

One million recyclable bottles ‘lost’ daily in B.C., foundation says

387 million beverage containers didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017

An environmental organization based in Vancouver says one million recyclable bottles and cans ”go missing” every day in British Columbia and it’s calling for higher deposits to discourage consumers from littering or throwing them away.

Chloe Dubois, of the Ocean Legacy Foundation, says her organization analysed data from the Brewers Recycled Container Collection Council and Encorp Pacific, the corporation in charge of container management, to compare bottles and cans sold with the number that are returned.

The foundation says about 387 million beverage containers, including items like plastic drink bottles and beer cans, didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017.

The group is recommending the province increase the deposit rate, add containers like milk cartons to the deposit refund system and enforce those targets in a meaningful way, like requiring producers to pay to clean up ocean plastics equal to the amount they fail to recycle.

READ MORE: ‘There is no market for it,’ Kelowna apartment recycling takes a hit

READ MORE: BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

It says an addition 2.3 million beverage container caps go missing every day and it recommends that producers also be required to collect and report on bottle-cap recycling.

In a statement, the B.C. Ministry of Environment says it is reviewing the report, adding the recommendations are generally in keeping with the province’s goal of reducing the use of plastics and other single-use items.

The ministry says more than one billion containers are recycled under the Encorp program alone each year.

Stewardship plans at both Encorp and the Brewers council’s are due for renewal this year and the ministry says it’s encouraging the public to give feedback during consultations over the next few months.

Dubois says she and other members of the foundation regularly volunteer to clean beaches in British Columbia and they’re shocked by the amount of recyclable litter they find.

“We need this to change. We can’t keep going out on the shorelines collecting thousands of bottles and caps.”

Dubois says that although B.C. was the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt a regulated beverage container refund system, it’s time for revitalization.

B.C. has a 5-cent minimum deposit return rate. Dubois says other countries and provinces have achieved better recycling and return rates in line with higher deposit rates.

Alberta and Saskatchewan both have a minimum regulated deposit of 10 cents per bottle and saw 86 per cent and 82 per cent of their bottles returned, respectively. Encorp’s bottle-return rate in 2017 was 76 per cent.

Germany and the Netherlands, which both charge the equivalent of 37 cents per container, return rates are 98 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively.

Setting the rate is up to the provincial government but Dubois says Ocean Legacy is recommending deposits of at least 10 cents per container.

“This system was implemented 50 years ago, it hasn’t been updated in 15 years, and it’s age is showing,” she says.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Weekly Mountain Minute

This week’s top news stories:… Continue reading

De Groot family still waiting for inquest after 2014 Slocan shooting

Lawyer for Peter De Groot’s family say many questions remain unanswered

Teepee raising ceremony invites Invermere Chief to Metis Nation Columbia River Society

Some people might notice a new teepee standing tall outside of the… Continue reading

Four-year-old girl one of two killed in highway crash near Creston

The 26-year-old driver of a Saturn SUV was also killed

Community helps Golden’s Fall Faire success

By Colleen Palumbo Well folks it looks as if everything is falling… Continue reading

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read