British Columbians get top marks for their milk carton recycling efforts as over 15 million milk containers were returned to participating Return-It Depots in 2011.
“The volume of milk containers returned to participating Return-It Depots has tripled since 2006,” says Mike Dick, president of the BC Dairy Council. “The amount of cartons and jugs that we have saved from landfills is quite significant,” says Dick. “It is hard to visualize the amount, but if you were to align 15 million jugs and cartons upright and side-by-side, the distance would cover from Vancouver to Prince George – and back. That’s over 1,500 kilometres!”
The 15 million containers weighed in at 630,000 kilograms (380,000 kilograms of milk cartons and 250,000 kilograms of plastic milk jugs). Year over year, the weight of recovered milk containers has increased by eight per cent – that’s an increase of 47,000 more kilograms from 2010 and a trend that the Dairy Council hopes will continue.
Number of participating Return-It Depots more than doubled
The voluntary recycling program provided by Return-It Depots allows consumers to drop off empty milk containers, at no charge, to participating depots and it is proving to be a huge success. Services are provided by Encorp Pacific, which manages the Return-It Depots that accept milk containers for recycling throughout the province. Since the company was first contracted to service the voluntary milk recycling program in 2006, the number of Return-It Depots that accept milk empties has more than doubled from 70 to 166.
The growing network of participating Return-It Depots has made it easier for British Columbians to do the right thing and recycle responsibly. Research shows that the average B.C. household empties 6.5 milk containers every month and that there are more than 1.8 million households in B.C., so the potential impact on the environment is significant.
No deposit = no refund
There’s no refund on milk empties (because there’s no deposit to pay), but British Columbians will have the satisfaction of knowing they are doing the right thing. Plastic jugs are the most popular form of packaging for milk in B.C., polycoat milk cartons are also commonly used. Although polycoat cartons are not usually accepted through curbside blue-box programs, milk carton recycling is offered at 166 participating Return-It Depots across the province. All milk, cream, and milk substitute (soy, almond and rice) beverage containers are recyclable and accepted.
Rinse and crush milk containers for recycling
Preparing milk containers for recycling is easy; simply rinse them out and crush them. This stops the cartons and jugs from smelling and makes them more compact to store and carry. It also facilitates the recycling process. Don’t forget to remove and bring in the caps too, because they get recycled separately.
British Columbians can bring their milk empties to participating Return-It Depots along with their deposit-bearing bottles and cans. It’s easy and convenient.
To find out more or to locate the participating Return-It Depot nearest you, visit www.return-it.ca/milk