9.1 Trends in percentage of beverage containers that are returned for reuse and recycling

Last Updated: 
May 25, 2015

This indicator tracks the number of beverage containers sold in the NWT and the percentage returned for reuse and recycling.

NWT FOCUS

The NWT's Beverage Container Program (BCP) was implemented in November 2005, and includes ready-to-serve beverage containers made of glass, plastics, aluminum, metals, waxed cardboard,and mixed materials that can be recycled or reused. The program includes containers from juice, pop, bottled water, energy drinks, beer, wine, liquor and other alcoholic beverages. In 2010, liquid milk and milk substitute products were added to the program.

Bails of densified aluminum for shipment to recycling markets.
Bails of densified aluminum for shipment to recycling markets.

The Waste Reduction and Recovery Act (Act) (2003) made it possible for the GNWT to set up programs to reduce waste and to recover, reuse or recycle various materials in the NWT. The BCP was the first program implemented under the Act.

Every year, around 30 million ready-to-serve beverage containers are sold in the NWT. Under the BCP, a refundable deposit and a non-refundable handling fee are added to the price of each ready-to-serve beverage container distributed or sold in the NWT. The consumer can get the refundable deposit back by taking the empty beverage container to the nearest depot. The depot sorts the beverage containers and ships them to a designated regional processing centre. The processing centres consolidate the beverage containers and sells them to recycling markets.

 

Bags of non-refillable glass prior to shipment to Airdrie, Alberta for processing into fibreglass insulation.
Bags of non-refillable glass prior to shipment to Airdrie, Alberta for processing into fibreglass insulation.

Bags of non-refillable glass prior to shipment to Airdrie, Alberta for processing into fibreglass insulation.
Photo: GNWT/Patrick Hough, ENR

Current view: status and trend

In the 2013-14 fiscal year, approximately 91% of the 30 million beverage containers distributed in the NWT were returned for recycling. These efforts have diverted 1,365 tonnes of materials from NWT landfills. The greenhouse gases avoided by recycling these materials are estimated to be about 2,696 tonnes of carbon dioxide savings, or the equivalent of taking 568 cars off the road1

Beverage container recovery rates
Beverage container recovery rates
 

Looking Forward

Beverage Container Program Review
A comprehensive review of the Beverage Container Program was conducted in 2011 as part of a long-term plan to improve existing Waste Reduction and Recovery Programs and Initiatives. The review looked at various aspects of the program including collection networks, container processing, quality control and quality assurance processes, container reuse and recycling, revenue streams, expenditures, container categories, and operating policies.

The review offered recommendations to improve program accountability, efficiency, self-sustainability and economic viability for depots and processing centres in the long-term while being affordable for the public. The complete report and a summary of the report (including ENR's response to each of the consultant's recommendations) are available online at www.icarenwt.ca.
 
Program staff continue to implement these recommendations to improve program delivery. Some changes include the introduction of Management Information System and new Quality Assurance procedures in 2015 that will provide improved reporting and reconciliation of containers collected and paid for within the program. The new Management Information System includes the establishment of a Quality Assurance Centre in Hay River, and installation of automated counting equipment. 

Find out more


References:

Ref. 1. Government of the Northwest Territories. 2015. Waste Reduction and Recovery Program 2013-2014 Annual Report. Yellowknife, NT.