[GRRN] Beverage Companies Responsible for Container Waste in Canada

Pat Franklin (cri@igc.org)
Thu, 21 Jan 1999 11:19:55 -0800 (PST)

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FOR RELEASE CONTACT: Pat Franklin, Exec Dir.
January 21, 1999 703/276-9800

Most provinces require deposits to insure recycling of beverage cans and bottles

ARLINGTON, VA -- The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) released a report
today entitled "Beverage Container Reuse and Recycling in Canada" outlining
the techniques Canada's ten provinces and two territories use to reduce
beverage container waste. "Nine of Canada's ten provinces require beverage
companies to take responsibility for beverage container waste and seven
provinces accomplish this through a deposit-return system," CRI Executive
Director Pat Franklin said.
"Making producers pay for their waste and pollution, a concept known as
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), provides an incentive for producers
to give greater consideration to recyclability, toxicity and other
environmental end-use impacts when they design their product or package and
chose their materials," said Franklin.

Franklin explained that since most beer in Canada (80 percent) is packaged
in refillable glass bottles with a deposit initiated by the brewers, beer
and other beverages in refillable bottles are generally exempt from
government mandated deposit systems. She said that less than 3 percent of
beer in the U.S. is sold in refillable bottles.

According to the report seven of Canada's ten provinces have, in the last
six years, implemented or substantially strengthened regulations ensuring
that beverage producers and their consumers increasingly bear the costs of
beverage container waste through some form of deposit return system. The
provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New
Brunswick, and New Foundland have expanded their deposit systems to include
all beverages sold in one-way containers except milk.

According to the report Quebec and Manitoba require beverage manufacturers
to fund curbside recycling programs as a means of insuring producer
responsibility. Under the Manitoba Product Stewardship Plan a 2-cent levy
is applied to all non-refillable, non-dairy beverages and is used to fund
municipal curbside
recycling programs. In Quebec, new age beverages such as juice drinks and
bottled water are not covered under the deposit system, but manufacturers of
those beverages are responsible for 75 percent of curbside recycling costs.

"Ontario remains the last holdout in the move toward holding beverage
manufacturers responsible for their container waste," said Franklin. "But
289 municipal governments, representing 84 percent of Ontario's residents,
have called on the Ontario government to require deposits on all glass wine
and liquor bottles and to put a levy on non-alcoholic beverage containers in
order to shift waste disposal and recycling costs to producers."

"While most provinces have succeeded in expanding or strengthening deposit
regulations for beverage containers, efforts to expand existing
deposit-return systems or to implement new deposit systems in the U.S. have,
for the most part, failed," said Franklin. She noted that Maine did succeed
in expanding its deposit law in 1990 to include all beverage containers
except milk.

Franklin attributes the failure to enact new deposit laws or expand existing
laws to the vast sums of money that are spent by the beverage and grocery
industries which oppose deposit systems. "In 1996," she said, "the beverage
industry spent $3.2 million to defeat a ballot initiative that would have
expanded that state's deposit law to include all non-alcoholic beverages
except milk."

"There are considerable costs to society associated with beverage
containers," said Franklin. "The question that must be asked is 'Who should
pay these costs?'" Franklin said the beverage industry supports recycling
of their packaging through curbside programs and drop-off centers because
those programs are funded by local governments.

"Putting a 5 or 10-cent deposit on beverage containers creates a monetary
incentive to recycle," she said, "shifting the costs of managing
post-consumer beverage cans and bottles from government and taxpayers to
producers and consumers."

CRI is a nonprofit organization that studies container and packaging
recycling options and serves as a clearinghouse for information on beverage
container recycling. Copies of the report are available for $15
(government/ngo rate) and $25 (corporate/association rate).
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