It was noted amongst our conclusions in the Final Report on Pilot Projects (April 2017), that the inability to test an unmanned bag-drop depot with fixed-value bags ($2) and explore the benefits of retail connectivity in New Brunswick remained a significant information gap which could have important benefits for the future of redemption centre (RC) operators. The report stated that the impact of having consumers count their containers prior to redeeming has the potential of influencing more change to RC productivity than any other technology, regardless of the size of the RC.
On April 20, 2018, Encorp launched its latest research project: Re-Express $2/40. In a few weeks, we will be gathering the data required to assess the viability of requesting consumers to count prior to redeeming. The initial field tests for this initiative were conducted in three RCs in the Fredericton area in 2015-2016 (15-month test period). The positive reaction from participants prompted Encorp to pursue this project with an unmanned bag-drop approach. In addition, a few added components will be tested in this most recent research project. For example, participants can register to become Re-Express members at the participating retail location (Sobeys Vaughan Harvey, Moncton) and can also withdraw cash in-store thanks to the addition of a Re-Station kiosk. Plus, all research participants are required to purchase the specially designed $2/40 bags. We will be reporting to stakeholders on the accuracy and overall results from the project in the coming months.
Since launching in 2014, the Re-Centre depots have been able to serve customers with at least three bags (160 UBCs) in 30 seconds or less over 95% of the time.