Bottles and cans piling up? You might have to just hang onto them - InfoNews

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Bottles and cans piling up? You might have to just hang onto them

Piling up: Regional districts are telling resident in Kamloops and the Okanagan to stockpile their returnable cans and bottles during the COVID-19 pandemic if they aren't close to a Return-It centre that is still open.
March 28, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Kamloops and Okanagan residents hoping to find a return-it centre for their COVID-19 induced pile of cans and bottles may be in luck, depending on where they live.

The returnable container industry is in a state of disruption over the COVID-19 pandemic, with some depots closed and others still operating.

Return-It (operated by Encorp Pacific) spokesperson Baljit Lalli says the corporation is working closely with B.C.’s independently owned and operated returnable container centres to ensure precautionary measures are put in place to protect themselves and the community.

“Half the province’s Return-It depots have decided to close, including locations in Vernon, Penticton and some in Kamloops,” Lalli said in an email sent today, March 26. “Others have reduced their hours while some depots are utilizing the Return-It express service which supports social distancing and limits customer interaction."

There aren’t many options open to those residents who aren’t close to those return it centres still open, as most regional districts’ advice is to hang onto the containers until things get back to normal.

But for some residents, Return-It bottle depots in Kamloops, and Kelowna are still operating in a few locations.

For Young Nam, operator of Boucherie Self Storage & Bottle Depot in West Kelowna, it's a day by day operation.

“We’re monitoring, and in constant contact with authorities, but for now it’s business as usual,” he says.

The following is a list of the present status of Return-It centres in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton:


  • General Grant’s Recyling, closed
  • Lorne Street Bottle Depot, open
  • General Grant’s Recycling Centres, Sahali, open
  • General Grant’s Recycling Centres, North Shore, closed
  • General Grant’s Recycling Centres, South Shore, closed


  • Interior Freight & Bottle Depot, closed
  • Chasers Bottle Depot, closed


  • Columbia Bottle Depot on Kent Road, open
  • Columbia Bottle Depot, Dease Road, open
  • Columbia Bottle Depot, St. Paul Street, open
  • Boucherie Self Storage & Bottle Depot- open
  • Winfield Return-It Centre, closed

Penticton’s Return-It centre closed on March 23 until further notice.

The status of Return-It centres in smaller communities can be found at this Return-It website.

None of the local governments responsible for recycling have any plans to address the issue and advise residents to just hang onto their returnable recycling until operations return to normal. You could also consider donating them to local charities. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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