Dettah recycling centre

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Distributors, Retailers and Operators

What's involved in running a depot?

Beverage container depots deliver a valuable community service by collecting, sorting and storing empty containers. They issue refunds to residents and send the containers to a regional processing centre for processing or to be shipped south for recycling.

  • Depot operators receive a handling fee based on the number of containers collected (depots may also receive an operating subsidy; contact the Recycling Program Coordinator for information on what you can expect to make operating a community depot).
  • Depot operators pay costs incurred in providing a space to operate a depot and any wages paid to staff a depot. These costs are paid from depot handling fees.

Depot requirements

Beverage container depots must have a licence to operate. To apply for a licence, contact a Recycling Program Coordinator at All applications for a depot licence will be reviewed on an individual basis and on their own merit.

Who can run a depot?

  • Individuals
  • Businesses
  • Schools
  • Non-profit groups
  • Community councils
  • Local development corporations

To maximize opportunities for establishing community depots, the program does not have rigid requirements or guidelines for buildings or facilities. The program does require depots to have a suitable and secure space to collect, sort and store containers. The GNWT may also provide storage or assist in finding storage.

Depot operations

Computers with Management Information System (MIS) software or special receipt books are provided along with training on how to use them. The computer or receipt books must be used for all depot transactions.

At least once a month, a report must be sent to the regional processing centre. The processing centre will reimburse the depot for refunds and depot handling fees based on these reports.

Depots must be open to receive containers and issue refunds a minimum number of hours a month, depending on the size of the community.

The GNWT will pay to remove the containers from the community once they have been collected and stored. This may happen by all-weather road, ice road, barge or air depending on the needs of the community.

A community depot operator will get:

  • Assistance in setting-up a depot
  • Training on how to run a depot
  • Equipment needed to handle the empty containers
  • Container handling fee

Beverage Container Program Distributors, Manufacturers and Retailers

Distributors or manufacturers

Distributors include any person or business that imports ready-to-serve drinks into the Northwest Territories (NWT) or sells ready-to-serve drinks to retailers.

Manufacturers include any person or business that fills beverage containers with a ready-to-serve drink. Distributors and manufacturers must register with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and participate in the Program.

The role and responsibilities of distributors and manufacturers can be found in the BCP Regulations or the Plain Language Summary.

Distributors are also required to submit monthly reports and remittances to the Environment Fund based on the number of containers that they distribute or sell.


Retailers include stores, restaurants, and other businesses that buy ready-to-serve drinks from a registered distributor and sell them to the public.

Retailers must be a registered distributor if they buy ready-to-serve drinks from anyone that is not a registered distributor.  To register as a distributor of beverage containers in the NWT, download the application form.

Retailers are encouraged to show the surcharge on the sales slip when they sell ready-to-serve drinks.

Electronics Recycling Program Distributors

Under the Electronics Recycling Regulations any person manufacturing, selling or distributing electronics in or into the NWT is an electronics distributor (this includes retailers). Beginning February 1, 2016, all distributors are required to:

  1. Be registered as a distributor.
  2. Collect environmental handling fees on designated electronics sold/distributed.
  3. Report and remit fees, where applicable.
  4. Maintain accurate books and records.

The Alberta Recycling Management Authority (Alberta Recycling) has been contracted by the Government of the Northwest Territories to administer the revenue portion of the Electronics Recycling Program and will be the main point of contact for distributors. For more information and to register as a distributor, please visit Alberta Recycling.

Electronics Distributors

Under the Regulations any person selling, distributing or manufacturing electronics in the NWT is an electronics distributor. Beginning February 1, 2016, all distributors are required to:

  1. Register under the Program.
  2. Apply environmental handling fees on designated electronics and clearly identify these fees on customer receipts and in advertising.
  3. Report regularly and remit fees to the Environment Fund as applicable.

How will the GNWT make sure all electronic distributors, including online distributors, comply with the Regulations?

The following measures have been put in place to make sure all electronics distributors, including local and national retailers, comply with the Electronics Recycling Regulations:

  1. The NWT Program is aligned with the Alberta electronics recycling program. The list of electronics included in the NWT program is the same as the Alberta list and processes for distributor registration and reporting and fee remittance are closely aligned with Alberta. All distributors registered in the Alberta program were notified of the NWT program. Aligning the two programs means a distributor registered in Alberta simply needs to expand on what they are already in compliance with the NWT program. Alberta has made good progress in bringing Alberta distributors into compliance. It is expected that most, if not all, NWT online distributors are already registered in Alberta.
  2. Regular searches will be conducted by an independent firm to identify distributors that are not registered and appropriate action will be taken to get them registered.        
  3. Registered distributors will receive in-person compliance reviews. Sales invoices and other relevant information will be reviewed to ensure sales are being accurately reported and fees accurately remitted. These reviews will be conducted for all types of registered companies, including those outside the NWT.
  4. Distributors failing to comply with the regulations will be guilty of an offense under the Waste Reduction and Recovery Act

Online distributors are treated the same as any other distributor supplying into the NWT.

Electronics Depot and Processing Center Operators

Depots and processing centres require licenses to collect electronics. As part of the licensing process, they are required to meet standards for collecting, storing and preparing electronics for shipment. These standards ensure the safety of depot staff and the public, protect the environment from exposure to potential pollutants and ensure electronics are stored securely to minimize theft and vandalism.

Depot and processing center operators are paid based on the quantity of electronics they collect. Monthly grants are also available in smaller communities where tonnage is limited by a small population.

Existing beverage container depots and processing centres, which are expanding to accept electronics, operate under a five-year license. If other individuals express interest in providing these services, they will be considered once these licenses expire.

Single-use retail bag program


A distributor is a business or person selling or supplying single-use retail bags to a retail store in the NWT. Distributors must register with the GNWT and participate in the Program.

Distributors are required to submit Quarterly Reports and remittances to the Environment Fund based on the number of single-use retail bags they distribute or sell to NWT stores.

Distributors seeking a refund from the Environment Fund for defective or unusable bags must complete a Defective Bag Refund Report. Distributors seeking a refund for SRB fees paid for bags distributed to non-retail stores must complete a Retailer/Distributor Refund for Redistributed Single-use Retail Bags Form.


Under the law, retailers are retail stores and wholesalers. They must register and collect the surcharge. If you think your business may be considered a retailer under the Single-use Retail Bag Regulations, please complete and submit the Application for Registration as a Retailer Form.

Retailers redistributing SRBs to other retail stores must register as a distributor with ENR. The retailers redistributing single-use retail bags within the NWT must use the Retailers Reporting Form.

Retailers requiring a refund for bags used for exempted purposes, such as for food service or prescriptions, must submit a completed Retailer Refund for Exempted Bags Form. Retailers requiring a refund for defective or otherwise unusable bags must submit a completed Retailer Defective Bag Refund Report form to their distributor.

Retailers seeking a refund for SRB fees paid for bags redistributed to non-retail stores must complete a Retailer/Distributor Refund for Redistributed Single-use Retail Bags Form.

Contact us

If you are interested in setting up a community depot, or ready to submit completed forms, contact:

Recycling Program Coordinator

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories

P.O. Box 1320

Yellowknife NT  X1A 2L9

Phone: (867) 767-9236 ext. 53176

Fax: (867) 873-0221