Compliance Areas

 

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Customer Experience

The success of Alberta’s beverage container recycling system is heavily dependent on the customer’s experience at your depot. 

Inspection Process

The BCMB has established minimum requirements for the permitting and operation of a depot. The enforcement of these requirements ensures the building of consistent standards for the depot network that stakeholders, such as the government and the public, can rely on. 

 

Depot Inspections focus on:

  • facility
  • equipment
  • yard and premises
  • customer amenities
  • hours of operation

For more information, please click the links below to review the following documents:


BCMB Compliance Officers visit most depots on an annual or as-needed basis.  Compliance Officers use the Inspection Form to evaluate whether or not a depot is meeting the minimum standards as identified in regulation and in BCMB’s By-laws. 

Non-Compliance Process

There are many different types and locations of depots in Alberta.  Meeting a standard may look different for one depot compared to the next. However, in order to operate in Alberta, a depot must meet all the minimum standards defined by the BCMB. 

  • If the Compliance Officer has noted any area that does not meet the minimum standard, those areas will be communicated to the depot at the time of the inspection and with a follow-up letter through the industry email account.  
  • It is important for Permit Holders to address all areas of non-compliance immediately and/or within the time frame agreed to by the BCMB Compliance Officer.   
  • Compliance Officers work with depots to resolve issues in a time frame that is reasonable and fair to both parties involved. 
  • It is important for a depot to remain in communication with its BCMB Compliance Officer. 
  • Repeated non-compliance and/or failure to meet minimum standards may result in escalating consequences, or suspension and cancellation of a depot operating permit. 

Compliance Officers are well informed on industry standards, best practices and industry initiatives.  Please do not hesitate to contact a Compliance Officer to learn more about any Compliance Program or BCMB standard.  To contact a Compliance Officer, click the link below to be redirected to the BCMB Contact Page: 


Refund Compliance

All depots are audited by secret (unidentified) shoppers through the BCMB’s Refund Compliance Program.  Regulation requires depots to provide a minimum refund of $0.10 for all registered beverage containers that are 1L or less and a minimum of $0.25 for all registered beverage containers that are over 1L. 

Customer confidence and the reputation of Alberta’s beverage container recycling system are heavily influenced and enhanced by depots providing accurate refunds. 

 
The BCMB encourages all depots to strive for refunds that are 100% accurate.
 
Refund Compliance Standards
 
To remain in compliance with the Refund Compliance Program:
  • a depot must provide to an auditor a refund that is within +/- $0.50 of the expected (actual) refund value for that order.
 To receive the Refund Compliance Industry Standard of Excellence:  
  • a depot must provide to an auditor a refund that is within +/- $0.25 of the expected (actual) refund value for that order. 
 

For more information, please click on the link below to contact a BCMB Compliance Officer:


If a depot provides a refund to an auditor that is greater than +/- $0.50 of the actual total refund value, that audit will be classified as non-compliant.  

A notification will be sent out to depots via their industry email address within three business days of the audit occurring, informing the depot an audit has occurred. The depot will receive the audit results within twelve business days of the audit notification being sent. All results will be sent to the depot’s industry email account. The audit results and record, including pictures of the containers returned to your depot, will be provided.   

Challenging an Audit

A depot can challenge an audit within seven days of receiving the audit results. To challenge an audit, a Quality Monitoring System ticket must be submitted. Any challenge received outside of the seven-day challenge period will be considered void. Click the link below to be redirected to the Quality Monitoring System:

If a depot provides a non-compliant refund, that depot can expect to receive a second audit within 90 days. If this follow-up audit results in a refund that is not within the industry standard (+/- $0.50), progressive action will be taken by the BCMB. Progressive action consists of a $200 levy and further targeted audits.

In order for a depot to avoid progressive action, the BCMB encourages depots to make every effort to provide each customer with an accurate refund.

Click the link below to contact a BCMB Compliance Officer:


Uniform Code of Accounts

Uniform Code of Accounts (UCA)  is an integral component of the beverage container recycling system. Completion of the UCA is  mandatory as the operational and financial data submitted from each depot in Alberta is used to assist the Data Collection Agent (DCA) in recommending handling commissions. To learn more about the UCA and how to complete it, click the link below to contact the Alberta Bottle Depot Association (ABDA): 

Uniform Code of Accounts (UCA) compliance is governed by the UCA Compliance By-law. Click the link below to be redirected to the BCMB Governing Documents page to view the by-law:

Process:

  • Each year depots will be emailed a UCA package from the Data Collection Agent (DCA). The DCA is the third party contractor hired to collect, analyze and report on UCA information for the purposes of determining handling commissions. The DCA will email depots a UCA package, including a series of forms and an UCA Instruction Manual  approximately five months before the filing deadline. 
  • Please take time to review these documents well ahead of the filing deadline.  Many depots use accountants to assist in the completion of these documents. Supporting financial information, such as tax filings, need to accompany your UCA, so it may make sense to complete the UCA at the same time as you complete your annual taxes. 

Filing Deadlines:

  • Every depot is required to file a UCA annually.
  • A depot must submit a fully complete and satisfactory UCA to the Data Collection Agent no later than six months after its year end. For example: If a depot’s year end is December 31, then the UCA needs to submitted no later than June 30 of the following year.  It is highly recommended that a depot submit its UCA prior to the last day of its filing period to provide the DCA with time to verify the submission.  A UCA is not considered submitted until it has been deemed acceptable by the DCA. 
    • To be considered submitted:
      • the entire UCA document must be filled out, with all appropriate information, and that information must be accurate and verifiable
      • all supporting documents must be included in the submission
      • the UCA must be signed

Grace Period:

The UCA Compliance By-law provides for a 20-day grace period before the BCMB issues a levy for non-compliance. This grace period does not serve as an extension to the deadline for filing a UCA but provides the DCA a period of time to verify the UCA and communicate with the depot should there be any errors or missing information. 

To contact the DCA, click the link below to be redirected to the BCMB Contact Page:


Click the documents below to access them:


Quality Control Audits

Audit Summary Results (ASRs) are the results of audits conducted on shipping containers that are shipped to the Collection System Agent (also known as the ABCRC) from depots.

  • ASRs show the expected count versus the actual count of a depot’s shipment, as well as any non-beverage containers, refillable beverage containers and non-deposit beverage containers that were included in the shipping containers.
  • Zones are used to label the relative success of a depot in shipping accurate quantities of beverage containers. Each zone corresponds to a specific range of positive and negative variances between the reported number of containers shipped on individual shipments by depots and the actual number of containers shipped as verified through the count process carried out by the CSA. The zone ranges are:
    • Zone 1:    > 0.0% to ≤ 2.5%
    • Zone 2:    > 2.5% to ≤ 3.5%
    • Zone 3:    > 3.5% or when there is not a trend towards zero.
  • All Zone 2 and Zone 3 audits are issued to a depot through the Quality Monitoring System (QMS).  Each QMS ticket is emailed to the depot’s industry email account. Please monitor your industry email account each day your depot is in operation. 

A depot will enter Level 1 of the Quality Control Progressive Action Policy (PAP) when:

1.  A depot’s average variance per bag audited over a three-month period exceeds any of the following thresholds:

  • 1.7% for all containers 0-1L; and/or
  • 3.5% for all containers Over 1L; and/or
  • 2.0% for all containers

2.  Any material stream variance, in any one audit, is greater than 7% 

If depot performance does not improve, movement through PAP can lead to further audits and compliance action enforced by the BCMB. If depot performance improves, the depot can move out of the PAP.

To review the Quality Control Progressive Action Policy, click the link below to be redirected to the BCMB Governing Documents page:

For more information, please contact a BCMB Compliance Officer by clicking the link below:


Depots receive Audit Summary Results through the Quality Monitoring System (QMS).  To challenge an audit, please see the following information:

  •  An audit can be challenged through the QMS. Responding to a QMS ticket that contains the original ASR is the only way to challenge an audit. 
  • All QMS tickets are sent to a depot through its industry email. Please ensure email is reviewed each day your depot is in operation. 
  • A depot must indicate its intent to challenge an audit within one depot operating day from receiving the ASR.  

What happens when a audit is challenged?

  • The ABCRC Agent will arrange a time for the audit challenge.
  • A depot can have a representative attend the recount at the ABCRC plant.  If no one is able to attend the recount, the depot can ask the ABDA if a staff member is available.  In some situations, the BCMB staff are able to attend a recount on a depot’s behalf. 
  • The shipping container that is being recounted will be segregated until the recount. The containers will be recounted and the recount will be recorded. The new count, if different from the first count, will be registered as the final count and will be applied to the depot payment. 

To contact a BCMB Compliance Officer, click on the link below:


Point of Return

Effective January 1, 2016, depots handling in excess of 10 million containers per year must use an approved Point of Return (POR) system. 

A POR system can be purchased from any vendor but must have the following basic functionality to qualify as meeting the industry standard:

  • Each counting station must have individual customer facing screens, unless otherwise approved in writing by the BCMB.
    • The screens must display orders as they are counted, including the number of beverage containers at each refund rate and the total refund payable to the customer. 
    • Customer-facing stations must match the number of counting stations reported on a depot’s Uniform Code of Accounts (UCA).
  • A receipt must be produced that meets the minimum cash register receipt requirements as outlined in the Beverage Container Depot Operation and Administration By-law.
  • An industry standard RBill that meets the requirements specified in Schedule “E” of the Service Agreement must be produced and transmitted in print and electronically.
  • The POR must be able to connect to the Internet. 
  • Quickdrop functionality must be in place (as of January 1, 2017).

All newly established depots, regardless of volume, must have a POR system that meets the industry standard POR requirements.

The expectation with a newly established depot is that the operator must have the POR installation included in the construction timelines within the Depot Permit Application. 


All existing depots, regardless of volume, that are sold to a new operator, must have a POR system that meets the  industry standard POR requirements.

The expectation with the purchase of an existing depot is that the new operator supply, at minimum, a signed letter of intent outlining the plan, with enforceable timelines, to purchase and install a POR in the depot. This letter of intent would be part of the applicant’s Permit Application.

All POR systems are required to be installed in the depot no later than 10 months after the start date of the conditional permit.  BCMB’s Compliance team will confirm the installation prior to the approval of an Application for Permit Renewal.


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