According to a report from Canadian Press, the Consumers’ Association of Canada has launched a class-action lawsuit against the British Columbia beverage industry, retailers and Encorp Pacific, which operates the province’s not-for-profit beverage-container recycling system.
The Consumers’ Association claims that its legal action is “on behalf of all consumers in British Columbia” and alleges that the industry has made illegal use of container deposits.
The litigation names numerous companies, including Coca-Cola Bottling, Save-On Foods, Wal-Mart and London Drugs.
"The B.C. beverage container regulation is very clear: deposits collected from consumers can only be used for one purpose paying refunds to consumers when containers are returned," stated Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association.
"Since 1998 the industry has collected and used over $70-million in consumer deposits for purposes that are not authorized under the regulation."
The association claims that consumer deposits were used to pay damages after a lawsuit against the beverage-container agency for improper conduct in the operation of the container stewardship plan.
It also alleges the industry imposed a container recycling fee on top of the deposit and, since 1999, has collected $60-million from this fee without legislative authorization.
"Simply stated, it’s an illegal fee," Mr. Cran said. "The industry shifted all its polluter-pay costs onto the backs of consumers and did so without any legislative authority."