Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Recycling and Waste

Recycling Beverage Containers

In November of 1995, the provincial government released the Solid Waste-Resource Management Strategy to deal with the environmental challenges of solid waste management. The deposit-refund system for beverage containers is one part of this long-term strategy to help the environment and the economy. Millions of beverages are purchased by Nova Scotians each year and the empty containers constitute much of the trash along our roadways and in our landfills. The objective of this program is to help the environment by:

  • reducing litter in roadways, lakes and other areas.
  • removing valuable recyclables from landfills.
  • creating jobs through environmental initiatives.
  • providing funding for waste diversion and public education programs.

Through this initiative, the equivalent of 16 truck loads per day of beverage containers will be taken out of the waste stream in Nova Scotia.

The deposit applies to...

As of April 1, 1996, a 10 cent deposit is paid on all beverage containers (except those containing milk and milk products) that are smaller than 5L, have been sealed by the manufacturer, and are ready to drink. The deposit applies to:

  • drink boxes plastic, glass or tin juice containers
  • soft drink containers
  • water and flavoured water containers
  • any other sealed drink container except milk and milk products

Other than rinsing the containers and removing the caps, no special preparation is needed. The labels must stay on.

Where do I return containers?

Beverage containers can be returned for refund at more than 80 privately operated Enviro-Depots across the province. The location of the nearest Enviro-Depot is posted at retail outlets that sell beverages. Half of the deposit (5 cents) is returned to you when you bring back the empty beverage containers. The other half is used to finance collection, promote recycling and implement waste diversion programs in Nova Scotia. A full refund of 10 cents is paid on containers designated "refillable."

Are there other options?

If you can't get to an Enviro-depot, there are still options available.

Where available, participate in your community's recycling program. If you put a beverage container in a blue bag or blue box, it will be recycled, although you won't collect your refund. The municipality, however, recovers the refund and that helps pay for the collection program.

Donate your containers to charities operating bottle drives. A group or association may want to collect beverage containers to raise revenue for their activities. Giving them your containers helps support community groups.

Combine your refundable containers with a neighbour or friend to bring them back to the Depot. Cooperation among neighbours accomplishes two things. It gets containers recycled and it gets people together.

The deposit does not apply to powdered and concentrated juices or to milk products. Also, if you switch from single serving sizes to larger containers, the result is not only lower overall deposits but cheaper per-serving costs.

What about blue bag recycling programs?

Blue bag and other recycling programs should not be greatly affected by the deposit-refund system. Together, the two programs will remove a significant portion of the waste stream from landfills. Also, blue bag programs do not exist in all communities, and where they do, everyone might not have access to one. The deposit-refund system allows all Nova Scotians to recycle.

RECYCLE. For the environment and the future.

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