(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Police respond to petition for new police agency on Lindsay Buziak murder case

Petition asks Public Safety Minister to to help find justice for slain realtor

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

Petition calls for suspension of Victoria councillor Ben Isitt

Isitt says petition ‘does not provide a reliable barometer of public opinion’

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read