Why can't depots accept all beverage containers or all recyclable material?

Only Beverage Containers Registered in Alberta can be Returned to a Depot for a Refund.

  • Alberta depots are ONLY permitted to accept and pay a refund on beverage containers that have been reigstered in Alberta (see below for more information)
  • Some beverage containers are not registered because:
    • They are not recyclable in a manner that is acceptable to the BCMB
    • The manufacturer failed to follow the correct process
    • They are not being sold in Alberta and have been brought to Alberta illegally or unintentionally
  • Depots CANNOT accept non-beverage containers such as:
    • tetra carton or canned soup containers
    • blended drink mixes
    • glass jars
    • refillable water jugs
    • food pouches
    • laundry soap
  • Every depot is required to verify container registration prior to accepting a container and paying a refund.
  • Depot's have access to the BCMB's online Registration Portal to verify container registration - this is their only method to verify containers.
  • A depot can face compliance action, fines and permit suspension for accepting containers that are not registered.
  • If you believe you have paid a deposit on a beverage container that has been identified by a depot as not registered, please contact the BCMB at 1-888-424-7671.  The BCMB is working towards ensuring manufacturers are compliant in registereing all containers sold in Alberta. 

Please be patient with depot staff. Depot's are regulated and have rules they must follow. These rules protect the beverage container recycling system and Alberta's environment.  Read below for more information.

Why is it necessary to register a beverage container?

Although Alberta's beverage container recycling system has over 100,000 different beverage containers registered in the system, there are instances where manufacturers have not registered their beverage container(s) with the BCMB and therefore these containers are not eligible to be returned for a refund.  

When a manufacturer gets approval to register a beverage container and sell that container in Alberta, that means that the container is recyclable and that a deposit has been paid on that container to the Collection System Agent.   When a depot accepts and refunds you for your beverage containers, they send those containers to the Collection System Agent for recycling.  The Collection System Agent returns the deposit to the depot for each container received. This in turn provides the depot the ability to continue refunding customers for beverage containers.  

When a beverage container is sold in Alberta that is not registered with the BCMB, no deposit has been paid on the container and the self-funded beverage container system loses money compensating the customer for this container and risks not being able to recycle the container. 

Some containers are made of materials that are harmful to the system and can contaminate large streams of material.  Other factors considered when approving registration of a container are: How was the container made? What materials are combined in making that container and can they be separated? What type of labels and lids are used? 

The BCMB actively works with manufacturers to ensure containers are registered and recyclable and that the environment is protected.  The BCMB also works to ensure customers are provided with quality service and accurate refunds.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the BCMB at 1-888-424-7671.