A nickel or a dime may not seem like a lot, but research and experience around the world, and right here in Ontario, shows that putting a deposit on drink containers is the best way to get high return rates for recycling or reuse.
While Ontario’s Blue Box program has been running for more than 25 years, under 60% of drink containers are captured and recycled. In stark contrast, 90% of beer, wine and liquor containers with a deposit are returned.
Statistics across Canada and the world show the same pattern - when there’s no deposit, the amount of drink containers collected in recycling programs rarely get above 60%, but when there is a deposit, return rates rarely drop below 80%.
TEA has been calling for a deposit-return system for drink containers in Ontario for many years. See our letter to the Province asking the government to ensure that the successful Beer Store and LCBO deposit systems remain in place.
Environmentally, refillable bottles are the best, using significantly less energy and water than manufacturing new bottles from either virgin or recycled materials. A glass refillable bottle is typically refilled 15 times! And return rates are even higher - for refillable beer bottles, return rates in Ontario are around 99%!
Other benefits of refillables and deposit programs:
- Containers returned for deposit don't get mixed or broken in Blue Bins - this means lower contamination and higher value recycling.
Recycling creates 7x more jobs than disposal; refillables create even more
Deposits save money: when deposits were introduced for all liquor and wine bottles in 2007, bottles in Toronto Blue Boxes decreased, saving the City almost $450k in 2007 and over $380k in 2008.
- Read TEA's report on Extended Producer Responsibility and refillable containers: Don't Trash our Environment: Why Companies Need to be Part of Ontario's Waste Solution
- For details on drink deposit and recycling systems in Canada, see the CM Consulting 2014 report: Who Pays What: An Analysis of Beverage Container Collection and Costs in Canada