New campaign to help Albertans up their container returns

Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC) is enlisting the public’s help to identify containers that qualify for the province’s deposit return program.

In 2021, Albertans returned over 2.1 billion non-refillable beverage containers, helping the province achieve an 84% return rate – one of the highest in Canada. However, ABCRC wants to push that number higher.

“As Albertans, our mission is simple: to contain ‘The Unreturned’,” says Lori Koebel, director, sustainability and communications, ABCRC.

“We know that 16% of deposit bearing beverage containers don’t make it back to the Depot, where they belong. They get forgotten in garages, left in arena bleachers, or left behind after picnics. We need the public’s help to get to 100%, to keep Alberta green and among the best recycling provinces in the country.”

The province-wide campaign will run throughout the summer and launched with a two-storey, interactive game, entitled the ‘Depot Drop,’ in downtown Calgary.

Open to the public for a limited time, the game invites players to identify ‘The Unreturned’ for a chance to win an exciting range of Alberta-based, eco-friendly prizes. These include a two-day, GoldLeaf Service rail journey for two on the famous Rocky Mountaineer, and other family-friendly rewards.

“The Depot system ensures valuable materials, like plastics and aluminum, stay within the circular economy in Alberta,” Koebel said.

“Albertans consistently achieve return rates that are among the highest in Canada. On an annual basis, our efforts lead to less usage of raw materials to create new products, and provide manufacturers with materials to contribute to their recycled content targets. The goal is to get to 90% and it cannot happen unless containing ‘The Unreturned’ truly becomes a province-wide effort. We’re confident that Albertans will accept the mission!”

For more than 25 years, ABCRC has been the approved Collection System Agent for beverage containers in Alberta. ABCRC is currently the largest self-sustaining deposit-based beverage container collection system in Canada, based on the number of material types and the quantity of beverage containers recovered.