According to Boissons Gazeuses Environment (BGE), every year in Quebec, more than 400 million refundable bottles and cans are not put back into the province’s recycling system, despite the fact that Quebec has a deposit-refund system for the containers. By throwing the containers in the garbage and not claiming the deposit, Quebeckers are losing out on $20 million a year.
With its partners, BGE operates the system that recycles containers in the province.
“By not returning refundable containers, we are wasting precious resources (aluminum and plastic),” says Normand Bisson, director of finances and operations at BGE. “The industry must manufacture new containers from non-recycled materials, which costs more, consumes more energy and pollutes more.
“However, bringing a refundable container back to the store is simple and recycling is efficient.”
Because of the deposit system and thanks to the efforts of most Quebeckers, BGE and their partners are able to recycle more than a billion containers, about 67 per cent of all containers used.
“When you realize that it takes between 250 and 500 years for a can or bottle to break down in the environment, the importance of taking returnable containers back to the store becomes obvious,” Bisson adds.
DEPOSITS IN QUÉBEC
The Québec deposit system has been around since 1984. CONSIGNaction is an environmental program that promotes and maximizes the recycling of returnable containers. Returned refundable containers are recycled 100 per cent; 60 days after the can has been put in the collection box, it is back on the store shelf, shiny and new. More than one billion containers are recycled this way every year.
CONSIGNaction, a creation of Boissons Gazeuses Environment, encompasses various projects to make consumers aware of recycling refundable containers and facilitate access to recycling infrastructures, inside or outside of the home. To know if a container is refundable or not, just look for the message “consigné 5 cents refund” on the can.
For more information, visit www.consignaction.ca