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What is the Story Behind The Bottle Depot?

If you live in Calgary chances are you have been to the bottle depot. Every consumable drink container in the province requires that a deposit is paid when it is purchased. That deposit is refunded when you return the container, which requires a trip to the Calgary bottle depot.

Bottle Depot in Calgary

If the drink container is under one litre, the deposit and refund is ten cents. If the drink container is over one litre, the deposit and refund is twenty five cents. Again, in order to get your refund back, the bottle depot was created. But many people wonder, what’s the story behind the bottle depot? How did they come to be?

Well, in the early 1970's, the disposal of single use beverage containers had led to a litter problem. As a result, non-refillable beverage container recycling began. This also includes rules requiring manufacturers to be responsible for their empty containers. Because bottles were expensive to produce, manufacturers used a deposit-refund system to ensure that consumers returned the bottles after use, and embossed the bottles with their logo and name as a means of claiming ownership. Now that bottles are much cheaper to produce, because the companies creating them are required to reuse materials, meet emissions targets and are responsible for ensuring their bottles end up be recycled, they are still concerned with where they end up.

So, this is how governments have trained the beverage bottling companies to participate in the deposit system. And consumers want to get their refund back so they will collect and return the bottles. But then there was a gap of where do the bottles get taken. In history, because each bottle had its makers logo on it, you had to return it to them directly. As the number of beverage bottlers increased, it became necessary to have a single location to bring the bottles to. Thus, the bottle depot was born!

Alberta is home to one of the most innovative and effective container recycling programs in all of North America. Calgary bottle depots make money through unredeemed deposits, the sale of recycled scrap material and a Container Recycling Fee that is charged on each container that is sold (usually one cent per container). TAll of this revenue supports the costs associated with collecting, handling, transporting and processing empty drink containers once they have been returned to a Calgary bottle depot, which helps to maintain an effective and sustainable recycling system.

So next time you buy a consumable beverage container, pay attention to the charges on your receipt to see the CRF fee and give some consideration to the positive impact being made by using the bottle depot. They contribute a lot of jobs to our community and help to keep our city cleaner with less litter in our streets and waterways. Calgary is considered one of the cleanest cities in the world and we think the Calgary bottle depot must have something to do with maintaining that status!


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