2021 Depot Brochure

The new 2021 Depot Brochure has been updated to contain current information and statistics for depot customers. The brochure also contains links to pages and resources on the BCMB website where customers may find additional information.

To view the complete brochure:

Without customers the system does not work

Alberta’s beverage container recycling system is one of the best in the world.  With a collection rate of over 85%, Albertans are returning almost two billion containers a year to depots!  Thank you for your commitment to protecting Alberta’s environment and for taking time to return your beverage containers to a depot. 
Depots are regulated by the Beverage Container Management Board. In permitting depots, the BCMB provides depots with mandatory operating criteria and processes. The BCMB inspects depots annually and administers numerous compliance programs to ensure that convenient, accessible and quality service is provided to the public.
Depots have rules they must follow when accepting beverage containers from the public.  Depots can accept most, but not all beverage containers. Read below to find out why. 

Contact the BCMB

Contact the BCMB with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Tel:    1.888.424.7671   OR   780.424.3193

Email:   info@bcmb.ab.ca 

Contact the BCMB

Requirements for depots when accepting containers


1.     Depots can ONLY accept registered beverage containers. What is a registered beverage container?

Depots have a tough job. They handle thousands of containers per day, made up of many different types of materials and are only allowed to accept registered beverage containers.  What does this mean?  When a manufacturer wants to sell a beverage in Alberta, they must receive prior approval from the BCMB. The BCMB approves the container material for the purpose of recycling and ensures that the manufacturer pays a deposit on each container being sold.  That deposit partially funds the system and allows the depot to refund the deposit consumers pay on each container when they return it to the depot. 

2.     What does a depot have to do when they are not sure if a beverage container is registered in Alberta? 

Depots are typically very familiar with beverage containers that are and are not registered. However, unfamiliar products are sometimes returned to depots. When this happens, the depot is required to confirm the registration of the beverage container by sending a QMS ticket to the BCMB. 

Depots are prohibited by law from accepting or providing a refund for:

  • Beverage containers purchased outside of Alberta; or
  • Beverage containers not registered in Alberta.

The penalty for not complying is a fine of up to $50,000 (for an individual) or $500,000 (for a corporation), as per the Beverage Container Recycling Regulation 100/97.

3.    A depot accepted my beverage container but did not pay me a refund for it.

If a depot does accept an unregistered beverage container from you, it will still be recycled. However, no refund can be paid on that container.  The depot will package the container separately and return it to the Collection System Agent for recycling.  Depots are agents for recycling - their goal is to protect the environment and keep beverage containers out of landfills. 

4.    The depot will not pay me a refund for my beverage container. What can I do?

Depots can only pay refunds for beverage containers that are registered. If the depot cannot verify registration, you have the option to either leave the container at the depot for recycling, or you can take it home with you and recycle it in your blue bin.

5.     I paid a deposit on a beverage container, but the depot is telling me that the container is not registered.

If you believe you paid a deposit on a beverage container that is not registered, please contact the BCMB. You will need to provide us with the following: 

  • Type of beverage container: size, flavour, brand, UPC (if available)
  • Location where it was purchased
  • Receipt, if available
  • Photo, if available

The BCMB will work to resolve the issue and have the manufacturer register the beverage or remove it from stores in Alberta. 

6.     Why can’t a depot accept beverage containers that have not been sold in Alberta?

When a manufacturer is approved to sell a ready-to-serve beverage in Alberta, they pay a refundable deposit for that beverage. When a customer returns a beverage container to a depot, the deposit amount on that container (paid at purchase) is refunded to the customer and in turn, the depot is paid the refund from the manufacturer’s collection system agent or service provider.  If the beverage container is brought in from out of province, the manufacturer has not paid a deposit on that container in the Alberta system, and therefore the system would be using money to fund unregistered containers.   

7.     Why can’t a depot accept other recyclable products (i.e. soup containers, olive oil, concentrates, pickle jars, windshield washer fluid) that look and feel similar to beverage containers?

The depot network is funded by beverage manufacturers and by consumers who buy beverage containers. The beverage container recycling system in Alberta is regulated under the Beverage Container Recycling Regulation and that regulation considers only the recycling structure and processes for ready-to-serve beverage containers.  Some depots do offer additional services, such as recycling collection, but there is no refund attached to these containers. 

8.     A depot has paid me a refund for non-beverage containers in the past or is still paying me for them. 

The beverage container recycling system cannot pay a refund for non-beverage containers.  Please contact the BCMB to discuss this issue further. 

BCMB Mandate - to regulate and enhance a leading beverage container system that protects Alberta’s environment.