Beverage containers dropped off for recycling are bagged up at a depot in Surrey.

Container recycling lags in Metro Vancouver

Too many recyclable bottles, cans go to landfill and Surrey is worst offender (with infographic)

Metro Vancouver residents are recycling laggards when it comes to taking back their empty bottles and other deposit containers.

And those in Surrey and Vancouver appear to be the worst of all.

So says Encorp Pacific, the non-profit agency that oversees the Return-It network of depots on behalf of member companies.

The system has an overall beverage container recycling rate of 80.1 per cent across B.C., a number that has improved from 72 per cent in 2006.

But Metro Vancouver is significantly worse than other regions at about 74 per cent, according to Encorp CEO Scott Fraser.

“Surrey and Vancouver are our two biggest challenges in terms of lower recovery rates and the largest numbers of unrecovered containers,” Fraser said.

Encorp says recovery rates are also low in the North Shore, Tri Cities and Abbotsford, but relatively high in Langley, New Westminster, Maple Ridge and Delta. (See accompanying charts below.)

An estimated 155 million beverage containers sold in Metro Vancouver each year never make their way back to depots, despite the offer of deposit refunds.

About half the containers that end up unrecycled in landfills are dropped in outdoor garbage containers or come from businesses, institutions or industry, while roughly a quarter each come from single family and multi-family residential.

The business/commercial sector has a container recycling rate of only 58 per cent in Metro, dragging down the region’s overall performance.

More cages for deposit containers on the sides of outdoor garbage bins could help binners retrieve and recycle them, Fraser said.

“We really would like to see recycling containers next to every street garbage bin,” Fraser said. “A harried family with three kids with juice containers walking down the street wants to put them in the first thing they see. And if it’s a garbage can we lose those containers.”

Encorp has begun offering free binner-friendly container recycling receptacles to municipalities that promise to service and clean them. They’re designed for areas with high pedestrian traffic.

Fraser said deposits are never paid out on many containers that are put in the blue box curbside recycling system – now overseen by Multi-Material BC – because they’re often crushed in mechanized sorting machinery and can’t be identified.

Some Metro Vancouver politicians have raised concerns that recycling of glass bottles will decline because MMBC no longer accepts them in the blue box in most municipalities, directing residents to instead bring glass to depots.

Depots also generally do not accept or pay refunds on beverage containers bought in the U.S. because no deposits were paid into Encorp’s system to cover their recycling.

Encorp marked 20 years of operating the container deposit system this year and recorded its 15 billionth container recycled in October.

Encorp’s statistics don’t include beer, wine and spirit bottles and cans.

They come back at much higher recovery rates – more than 92 per cent – under a separate system jointly run by major breweries.

Encorp’s Fraser said the disparity in return rates between the two systems is because liquor consumers are accustomed to returning empties when they go to buy more beer or wine.

THE UNRECYCLED | Create Infographics

Just Posted

120 turn up for Aldergrove blood clinic

More volunteer help welcomed by Canadian Blood Services

VIDEO: Basics for Babies underway at Langley Events Centre

Canadian country stars perform at fundraiser

LETTER: MP refutes one man’s ‘skewed’ views on immigration

‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts’: John Aldag

Extreme weather warning due to rain canceled in Langley

Gateway of Hope homeless shelter offered extra sleeping accommodation

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read