In 2018, the province of Alberta achieved an 85.6% return rate for non-refillable beverage containers. Learn more about their container recycling program and how you can contribute!
The benefits of recycling empty beverage containers...
As the global population continues to increase and more demand is placed on our finite natural resources, it is becoming more and more urgent that environmentally-conscious practices are society's top priority. Recycling empty beverage containers protects our environment by reducing energy use, raw material extraction and emissions that result from manufacturing new products. Did you know the energy that goes into producing one new aluminum can could alternatively produce twenty recycled cans? Recycling your water bottles, pop cans, flavored water bottles, and other non-refillable beverage containers ensures that valuable material is recovered and is not sent to the landfill.
The largest beverage container collection system in Canada exists within Alberta. Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC) is one major stakeholder that helped ensure that 99,359,277 kilograms of non-refillable beverage containers were diverted from the landfill in 2018 alone!
ABCRC collects, transports, processes, and recycles beverage containers throughout the province. The non-profit acts as an agent for beverage manufacturers in Alberta to recycle empty containers. There are currently 220 Bottle Depots operating in the province to collect beverage containers from consumers and refund the deposits.
Image from abcrc.com
So how has Alberta made such great strides shaping their beverage container recycling program?
Although many factors have contributed over the years, adopting the practice of extended producer responsibility kickstarted their accomplishments about 45 years ago. Extended producer responsibility is when manufacturers are held accountable for taking on all costs of recycling the material they produce after it has been used.
Alberta’s Beverage Container Recycling Regulation came into effect in the early 1970s, holding manufacturers responsible for the massive amount of empty beverage containers being discarded. From this regulation, ABCRC was created as a common collection system funded by the manufacturers to ensure their empty containers are recycled properly.
Image by abcrc.com
Starting with a priority to comply with the Beverage Container Recycling Regulation and Beverage Container Management Board bylaws, ABCRC has evolved to promote and encourage the recovery of beverage containers, minimize the cost of recycling, and ensure each container type is self-funding!
How you can contribute.
Alberta Depot is an organization operating through a joint effort between ABCRC, the Beverage Container Management Board, and the Alberta Bottle Depot Association. Alberta Depot provides a thriving grant program called The Community Champions Program. Specifically designed for non-profit organizations and municipalities, this yearly grant provides funding to support the purchase of recycling bins to build participation in beverage container recycling within Alberta. The goal of the Community Champions Program is to build more accessible and convenient solutions for recycling in public spaces through increased access to specialized indoor and outdoor bins.
The Community Champions Program - Grant Recipient
If you are a non-profit or municipality within Alberta, learn more about the grant application process and how you can become a partner in beverage container recycling! You could be eligible for up to $20,000 towards new recycling infrastructure.
Image from albertadepot.ca
Did you know that the type of recycling bins you choose greatly impacts recycling rates? Research shows that certain best practices regarding bin design increase diversion rate, reduce contamination, and increase proper recycling behavior. Click here to learn more about what to look for when purchasing recycling bins for your organization.