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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 works towards building consistent standards for the depot network that stakeholders, such as the government and the public, can rely on. 

The success of beverage container recycling in Alberta is heavily dependent on an Albertan’s experience at your depot. 

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 a depot is meeting the minimum standards as identified in Regulation and in BCMB by-law. 

Non-Compliance Process

There are many different types and locations of depots in Alberta.  Meeting a standard may look different for one depot as compared to the next depot. However, in order to operate a depot in Alberta, a depot must meet all the minimum standards as 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 you at the time of your inspection and to you with a follow-up letter through your industry email account.  
  • It is important for Permit Holders to address all areas of non-compliance immediately and/or within the time frame as agreed to by the BCMB Compliance Officer.   
  • Compliance Officers will work with you to resolve your issues in a time frame that is reasonable and fair to both parties involved. 
  • It is important to remain in communication with your 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 of 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.  If you would like 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.  Under Regulation, depots must provide a minimum 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 is heavily influenced by the accurate refunds provided by Depots. 

 
The BCMB encourages all depots to strives 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 the link 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.  

You will be informed in writing, within 7 days of the audit, of the results of the audit. All results will be sent to your industry email account.  The audit results and record, including pictures of the containers returned to your depot, will be provided to you.   

Challenging an Audit

A Depot can challenge an audit within 7 days of receiving the audit results.  To challenge an audit, you must submit a Quality Monitoring System ticket. Any challenge received outside of the 7 day challenge period will be considered void.   Click the link below to be redirected to the Quality Monitoring System link on this website:

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 $200.00 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 be redirected to the BCMB Contact Page 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.  If you would like to learn more about the UCA and how to complete it, please 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 Governance Document page to view the by-law:

Process:

  • Each year every depot 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 you a UCA package, including a series of forms and an UCA Instruction Manual  approximately 5 months before your filing deadline. 
  • Please take your time to review these documents well ahead of your 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 your UCA at the same time as you complete your annual taxes. 

Filing Deadlines:

  • Every depot is required to file a UCA each year
  • A Depot must submit a fully complete and satisfactory UCA to the Data Collection Agent no later than 6 months following their year end.  For example: If your year end is December 31, then your UCA needs to submitted no later than June 30 of the following year.  It is highly recommended that a depot submit their UCA prior to the last day of their 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, a fully complete and satisfactory UCA means that:
      • the entire UCA document is filled out, all the appropriate information has been included, the information is accurate and verifiable
      • all supporting document is included in your submission
      • the UCA is 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, 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 variance 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 identified below:
    • 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 you through your 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 through 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 and being redirected to the BCMB Contact Page:


Depots receive Audit Summary Results through the Quality Monitoring System.  Challenging an audit:

  •  An audit can be challenged through the Quality Monitoring System. Responding to a QMS tickets, that contains the original ASR, is the only way to challenge an audit. 
  • All QMS tickets are sent to you industry email. Please ensure you review your email each day your depot is in operation. 
  • A depot must indicate their 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 challenging of the audit
  • You or a member of your depot can attend the recount at the ABCRC plant.  If you are unable to attend the recount you can ask the ABDA staff if they are available.  In some situations, the BCMB staff are able to attend a recount on your 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 the link below to be redirected to the BCMB Contact Page:


Point of Return

Effective January 1, 2016, Depots currently handling in excess of ten million containers per year must have an approved Point of Return (POR) system in use in their Depot. 

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; and 
    • Customer facing stations must match number of counting stations reported on their Uniform Code of Accounts (UCA).
  • Must produce a receipt that meets the minimum cash register receipt requirements as outlined in the Beverage Container Depot Operation and Administration By-law
  • Must be able to produce and transmit an industry standard RBill in print and electronically that meets the requirements specified in Schedule “E” of the Service Agreement
  • Must be able to connect to the internet 
  • Must have Quickdrop functionality (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 their 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 a 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 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 ten months following the start date of the conditional permit.  BCMB Compliance will confirm the installation prior to the approval of an Application for Permit Renewal.


Industry Meetings

All Permit Holders are required to attend at least one BCMB Regional Meeting per year, the entirety of the annual ABDA Conference and such other Industry sanctioned meetings as may be required and designated by the BCMB from time to time. 

2018 Regional meeting have not yet been scheduled. 

The 2017 Regional Meetings were held in late February and early March in the following locations:

  • Calgary
  • Lethbridge
  • Grande Prairie
  • Lloydminster
  • Edmonton
  • Red Deer

Click the link below to view the 2017 Regional Meeting Materials

The 2016 Regional Meetings were held in March in the following locations:

  • Edmonton
  • Grande Prairie
  • Camrose 
  • Red Deer
  • Calgary
  • Lethbridge

Click the link below to view the 2016 Regional Meeting Materials

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