Starting Feb. 1, British Columbians will be charged a 10-cent deposit when they purchase milk or milk-substitute beverages.
Consumers can then receive a refund by returning the containers to a recycling center. However, any containers with a best before date prior to Feb. 1 won’t be eligible for a refund.
“We are very excited about this. This will increase the total number of beverage container units in Canada that are recycled every year,” said Encorp Canada Interim CEO, John Nixon.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, estimates another 20-40 million containers will be recycled each year now that milk containers are included in the deposit-refund system.
The change is a part of the province’s CleanBC Plastic Action Plan.
“This has been in consideration for many years,” said the Director of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Bob McDonald.
“The province is working towards reducing as much waste as possible especially litter like beverage containers that can end up in waterways.”
McDonald added that the province received input from dairy processors and the public before implementing the new regulation.
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“We worked really closely with Encorp to have this implemented. We are prepared and looking forward to a smooth transition,” said Sarah Cotton, Media relations for the Western Dairy Council.
“Dairy processors are committed to environmental stewardship and supporting solutions that protect our environment.”
The new deposits don’t include modified milk products like coffee creamer, whipping cream, infant formula or meal replacements.
“The other containers are still recyclable, and we would encourage people to throw them in their blue box or if they do bring them to a depot to not expect a refund,” said Nixon.
Return-it is also asking consumers to make sure their beverage containers are rinsed out prior to returning them.
“We want to prevent contamination. The concern is that if there is old milk at the bottom of the container it may generate bacteria and generate smell,” said Nixon.