B.C.'s Return-It centres are going to make recycling so much easier - InfoNews

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B.C.'s Return-It centres are going to make recycling so much easier

Customers sort their returnables outside the Penticton Return-It depot. Changes are coming to the recycleable beverage contained program over the next few months intended to make returning cans and bottles easier and more convenient.
July 08, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Changes are coming to British Columbia’s Return-It beverage container recycling system that should make beverage can returns a whole lot easier — no more sorting.

Encore Pacific, a non-profit corporation in charge of recycling in B.C., says it’s beginning a six-month pilot program at select Return-It depots with an eye to expanding it across B.C. That’s only possible because starting this fall, all beverage containers will be worth a 10 cent deposit so you won't have to separate beer cans from pop cans.

Encore Pacific President Allen Langdon says only Barriere is part of the unsorted cans project with Ashcroft and Logan Lake soon to join them. It’s not clear when it will be universal across the province.

The innovations are due, in part, to lessons learned through the COVID-19 pandemic. In a release, Encore Pacific says it had to adapt its system by reducing touch-points while improving convenience.

All refunds on returnable containers in B.C. are provided through a Return-It centre, Langdon says, adding the beer industry runs its own stewardship plan, but also uses Return-It depots.

He says up until now, roughly half of the province’s Return-It centres don’t have a license with the brewers, so traditionally they have discounted the refund to consumers.

One of the pilot project's objectives is to eliminate the discounted refund.

Return-It is also partnering with the Salvation Army to expand its textiles program, where consumers can safely drop off used clothing for recycling, but this initiative won’t be coming to the Thompson–Okanagan, Langdon says.

“It’s our hope to broaden out the program eventually. Its been really successful in the Lower Mainland, where we’ve diverted 200 tons of textiles in the past 18 months,” he says.

Langdon says Return-It is actively looking into more locations for contactless Return-It Express Plus and solar powered Express & Go stations in the Thompson and Okanagan.

Consumers can visit the Return-It.ca/nosorting cans website for a list of participating locations that will be updated over the coming weeks.

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